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.
(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.
"Oh yeah! Then how is it that I've never heard of you?"
"Because there are no herds of me."
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.
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.
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.
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,
one, two, three and four
- 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.
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.
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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