Decoding the composition
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Djinn originally a concerto for marimba and chamber orchestra, was written for and inspired by percussionist Pedro Carneiro and has sinced been arranged for solo marimba and digital audio, marimba and percussion ensemble, and marimba and traditional Chinese instruments. This is an early example of collective commissioning with three of New Zealand's regional orchestra's contributing to the process with funding provided by Creative New Zealand. Orchestra Wellington - who drove the commission and the project - the Auckland Philharmonia, and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra each performed the work as part of its premiere season in April 2010 with Marc Taddei at the baton for all three performances. Inspired by the mystical concept of the djinn, or genie, Djinn embarks on a musical exploration of profound themes and mythical tales. Divided into three distinct movements, the concerto unfolds like a transformative journey through the realms of Pandora, the labyrinth, and the ethereal realm of dreams.


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Djinn (marimba and Chinese instruments orchestra)

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Project Details

Djinn (marimba and Chinese instruments orchestra)

for Marimba, and Chinese Instruments Orchestra (arr. Kong)

Arranger: Simon Kong

Instrumentation: Solo Marimba + Chinese Instruments

Difficulty Level:
Instrument Tags:
Chinese Instruments
Mallet Percussion

Programme Note


  • a supernatural creature able to appear in human form and to possess humans.
  • a guardian spirit assigned to each person at their birth.
  • the djinn are made of fire, man is made of clay, angels created of light.

I. Pandora

Each god helped create her by giving her seductive gifts. Pandora opened a jar releasing all the evils of mankind leaving only Hope inside.

“The immortals know no care, yet the lot they spin for man is full of sorrow; on the floor of Zeus’ palace there stand two urns, the one filled with evil gifts, and the other with good ones. He for whom Zeus the lord of thunder mixes the gifts he sends, will meet now with good and now with evil fortune; but he to whom Zeus sends none but evil gifts will be pointed at by the finger of scorn, the hand of famine will pursue him to the ends of the world, and he will go up and down the face of the earth, respected neither by gods nor men.”

– Homer, Iliad

II. Labyrinth

Labyrinths are symbols that speak to deep levels of consciousness. The trip into the center and out again mirrors our lives and our personal journeys. The first few steps might be hesitant. With each successive turn that takes us closer to, then farther from the center, we examine our choices until the last turn takes us into the still, motionless center. The center of a labyrinth is the center of the Mystery. For some, it can be the largest, deepest, most profound Mystery, others find only their own shadow, or emptiness. In

a labyrinth, the way out is the way in. There’s no wrong turn, or wrong choice. It is surrendering to the journey itself. We emerge from the last turn blinking, astonished. Much of the marimba writing in this movement was inspired by the oud/outi and setar playing of Vasili Papanikolaou, Dariush Tala’I, Xaik Yiazitzian

– Antonis Aperghis, Rahim Alhaj

III. Out-Dreaming the Genie

Echoes of the warm safe danger conjured forth by the music of childhood TV shows, in which we may have been in the land of the giants, lost in space, or on a magic carpet with an inscrutable genie, but we knew always that

everything was


Wasn’t it?

Stories and images that convinced youthful us we would turn our crawling into walking, then into running, and finally that we would lift up from the earth and fly free.