Rising Artist

FULL EPISODE

Andrew Bambridge

Andrew Bambridge is a percussionist, composer, and actor known for known for Pixels (2015), Happyish (2015) and The Onion News Network (2011). At Rutgers University, he is pursuing a master’s degree in music performance. Born with achondroplastic dwarfism, he plays the marimba on an elevated platform.

AIRED: October 08, 2020 | 0:06:09
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

(soft marimba music)

- One of the reasons why I developed a passion

for the marimba was that it was the first instrument

that I played that was so easily accessible to me.

I started in middle school and our middle school had this

little Three Octave Ross Marimba

that was the perfect size for me.

I didn't need any stools or any other assistive devices

in order for me to play it.

My name is Andrew Bambridge.

I'm 24 years old

and I am a percussionist, composer and actor.

(soft marimba music)

What brings me the biggest joy is connecting.

This can be the connection I feel

when I listen to a piece of music that I really relate to,

or the connection I feel

when I have an intimate conversation with a friend.

This also includes the connection

that I feel with the audience when I perform,

especially when I'm performing a piece of my own

that's really personal to me.

He was introduced as the well known composer.

She said,

"Oh yeah! Then how is it that I've never heard of you?"

He said,

"Because there are no herds of me."

(audience laughing)

One of the things I especially liked

about acting and doing theater

was making the audience laugh.

I often played comedic roles in community theater

and with the musical productions at my school.

And it made me feel so happy

whenever I did something funny on stage

and it got the audience laughing.

What's up do you think you blaze?

They call me no fire blaster.

'Cause my hands are blazing fast,

so I would blast and burn all my competitors-

- It's made shooting pixels a little strange for me

because my character in that movie

did some really obnoxious, but funny things,

when I performed them no one on set could laugh.

You have the patterns down pretty good with these games,

you're gonna be tough to beat.

I remember the first time it happened,

I was kinda a little bit shocked.

Like maybe I hadn't been that very funny,

but then I started to realize

and get kinda used to the fact that

no one was gonna be able to react.

(marimba music)

Playing percussion can be very physically demanding,

especially playing the marimba.

When I'm practicing marimba I'm constantly moving around,

usually repeating the passages

that are most physically demanding

because those are the ones that I have to work on the most

in order to play the piece accurately.

Being only 4 feet tall I need to stand on a platform

in order for me to be at the appropriate height

for playing a standard marimba.

My platform consists of a long wooden board

that my dad reinforced

and that board sits on two workout platforms on either end.

In addition, because my arm span is short

I often have to change notes within a piece

that are physically too far apart from each other

for me to play them at the same time.

This usually means that I'll either bring

the notes in the left hand up by one octave,

or bring the notes in the right hand down by one octave.

That way I can reach the notes in both hands simultaneously.

- There are many sides to Andrew's personality.

And,

there's a very focused, driven, a hardworking

and intensely passionate side.

And that's I think how he's achieved so much success

at such a young age.

(soft music)

The other side of Andrew that we all know and love

is that really happy giggly side.

And these two sides of Andrew's personality

really showcase what a special artist he is.

- We have one,

two,

one, two, three and four

(soft music)

- The community of musicians at Rutgers is really diverse.

There are so many different paths students are taking,

including going into education, jazz performance,

classical performance and musical composition like myself.

And all of us have different personal interests

and pursuits in music and in life.

(soft marimba music)

I still consider myself to be a student,

but the moment when I started to consider myself

as an artist as well,

was when I began working on a piece called

Songs I-IX by Stuart Sanders Smith.

(banging)

(indistinct chanting)

It's a piece for percussionist and actor.

And in that piece, I got to utilize the skills

I developed from my musical and percussion training,

as well as take inspiration from actors I really liked

specifically the fearlessness they showed

in their physical combating.

When it came time for me to perform it for the first time,

I remember thinking to myself

that I cannot be afraid to put myself out there.

Even if I will take a fool to some people.

(crowd cheering)

That first performance for me was still

one of the most exhilarating performances I've ever had.

And it was then when I knew I was an artist.

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