Notes and Editorial Reviews
American Gifts features composer Michael Tilson Thomas's "Island Music" (2003), a charming and effervescent work performed by duo marimbists, Jack Van Geem and Nancy Zeltsman with members of the San Francisco Symphony percussion section. Van Geem and Zeltsman also give virtuosic readings of music by Irving Fine, Roger Sessions, and Joseph Brackett- American gifts spanning 155 years.
Jack Van Geem has been the principal percussion and assistant timpanist of the San Francisco Symphony for 23 years. He has performed and recorded with the symphony as a mallet soloist, solo timpanist, snare drum soloist and featured solo percussionist. Before joining the Symphony in 1981, he performed for five years with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. He studied in Germany with Cristoph Caskel on a Hertz Fellowship and holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from California State University–Hayward, where he also taught. In addition to his work with the San Francisco Symphony, Van Geem has recorded and performed chamber music, music soundtracks and marimba and xylophone music. For over 30 years, Nancy Zeltsman’s work as a marimba performer and teacher has been a force in introducing more people to the marimba, and elevating it as a vehicle for musical expression. Many of her former students are noted rising stars. She's performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician, recorded many albums and for 14 years has run a two-week summer event, Zeltsman Marimba Festival.