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Explore Freer Percussion’s artists.
Aaron McDonald joined the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as Principal Timpanist in 2007. Prior to joining the VSO he was timpanist with the West Virginia Symphony and performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, and Buffalo Philharmonic. During the Summer Aaron is Principal Timpanist with the Festival Napa Valley Orchestra and the Classical Tahoe Festival Orchestra. As a soloist he has performed timpani concertos with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, and the Classical Tahoe Orchestra.
Aaron currently teaches at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music, and the Festival Napa Valley Music Academy. He has given Masterclasses throughout North America and Asia, and was a featured artist for the MusicFest Canada National Youth Band.
Aaron is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Chris Lamb (Principal Percussion, New York Philharmonic) and Duncan Patton (Principal Timpani, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra). He then moved to Cleveland to work with Tom Freer (Assistant Principal Timpani/Percussion, The Cleveland Orchestra). Aaron is an Artist for Freer Percussion, Adams/Pearl, and REMO.
Alison Chorn joined the percussion section of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in 2013. Prior to moving to Fort Wayne, she was Principal Percussion of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra in Mansfield, Ohio. Her active orchestral career has included appearances with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the Toledo Symphony. Alison earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Cleveland State University in 2014 and spent summers at the Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, and the Eastern Music Festival. A passionate educator, Alison is Guest Lecturer in Percussion at Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), and coaches the percussion section of the award-winning Columbia City High School Marching Band. A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Alison began her musical studies in piano at with Zhenya DeVol at age seven. She studied percussion with Fernando Meza of the University of Minnesota, Kevin Watkins of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Brian Jones joined the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as Principal Timpanist in 2011, after having served thirteen seasons as Principal Timpanist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Jones has also performed as guest Principal Timpanist with the orchestras of Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, and Columbus, and has performed as a percussionist with the orchestras of Chicago, Boston, Houston, and the Grand Teton Music Festival. Brian has toured and recorded with the Empire Brass Quintet, appeared as a performer on NBC's The Today Show and was featured in a command performance for Prince Rainier of Monaco. As an undergraduate at The University of North Texas, he was a member of the Grammy-nominated One O'clock Lab Band, playing drum set and bass trombone in alternate semesters. Mr. Jones served as Adjunct Professor of Percussion at The University of Michigan from 2001 to 2011. Brian has been recorded in a wide variety of musical settings and has premiered solo works with the Detroit Symphony, the New World Symphony, and The University of Michigan.
Brian Mount has held the position of Principal Percussion of the Minnesota Orchestra since 1999. His previous posts have included Principal Percussion of the Honolulu Symphony and Hawaii Opera Theatre. He has participated in numerous festivals, including the Grand Teton Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards, Tanglewood, and the National Repertory Orchestra.
Brian completed his undergraduate studies at Indiana University, where he was awarded the Performer’s Certificate. He continued on to complete a master’s degree at Temple University.
Other notable ensembles Brian has performed with include the Atlanta Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, and San Antonio Symphony.
After hiking, biking and fun time with his family he can often be found playing ukulele or guitar.
Dongliang Xu is on the percussion faculty at the China Conservatory of Music. He has also held the title of Principal Timpanist with the China Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. Dongliang earned his BM from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and MM from the Peabody Institute. His major teachers include Zhao Ji, Yang Ruwen, Xue Baolun and Robert van Sice.
As an active percussionist, Dongliang has performed in concert, on tour, and in recording with several chamber groups and percussion groups in China, He has also performed in several music festivals such as Beijing Modern Music Festival, Jianli Percussion Festival. In 2014, Dongliang performed as Principal Timpanist with the CYPO on their tour of Italy.
Dongliang has also served as the member of the Jury Committee of several competitions such as IPEA International Percussion Competition, Jianli International Percussion Festival and China Youth Music Competition.
Charles Settle joined the percussion section of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the beginning of the 2004-2005 season, and holds the endowed William A. Schwartz Chair.
During the 2008-2009 season, Mr. Settle took a one-year leave of absence from the Atlanta Symphony and joined the New York Philharmonic as a Percussionist and Assistant Timpanist, where he toured, participated in recording projects, and performed a complete Mahler cycle with the Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra during their residency at Carnegie Hall. He also performs as a member of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony Orchestra in Sun Valley, ID, and has performed with the Detroit Symphony.
Prior to accepting the position in Atlanta, he was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL, from 2000-2004. During this time, he also performed as an extra percussionist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Mr. Settle graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy and received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Michael Bookspan and Don Liuzzi.
An active educator, Mr. Settle has given master classes at the University of Miami (FL), DePaul University in Chicago, Manhattan School of Music, and Curtis Institute of Music, as well as at schools in the Atlanta metropolitan area. He also teaches privately out of his home in Atlanta.
Called a “vivid performer” by The New York Times for his performance as Solo Cimbalom for John Adams’ Scheherazade.2 and praised by the NYT for the “brilliant clarity” of his performance of the featured cimbalom part for Mr. Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, Chester Englander has a thriving career as a percussionist and concert cimbalom player with orchestras throughout the country.
A native of Santa Monica, CA, Chester learned the basics of playing percussion in the local public school music programs. After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy, he went on to earn Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Richard Weiner and Paul Yancich.
Chester has performed on percussion or cimbalom with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Oregon Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony, in addition to several others. He participated in multiple world and U.S. premieres of compositions by Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Adams, Thomas Adés, Unsuk Chin, and several others. Chester performed as soloist with the L.A. Phil on two occasions: as glockenspiel soloist for Des Canyons aux Etoiles by Olivier Messiaen, and as percussion soloist on Pierced by David Lang. Additionally, Chester performed as cimbalom soloist for the U.S. Premiere of da capo for cimbalom and ensemble by Peter Eötvös with the New World Symphony.
Chester has joined the L.A. Phil and The Cleveland Orchestra on multiple U.S. and European tours, and he can be heard on 16 recordings with the L.A. Phil and Buffalo Philharmonic on CD, DVD and iTunes for the Deutsche Grammophon, Cantaloupe, and Naxos labels, including the DVD commemorating the inaugural concert for Gustavo Dudamel as Music Director. He can be heard playing percussion on the scores for Resident Evil V, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and the motion picture Earth by DisneyNature. Chester also played percussion and timpani on the song Reach For the Stars by will.i.am for Interscope Records, which was broadcast on Mars from the Mars Curiosity Rover. Chester is an Artist for Pearl Drums/Adams Percussion and Freer Percussion Products.
Chris Allen joined the percussion section of the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1997. Since 2008, his duties have also included Associate Principal Timpani. Before coming to Pittsburgh, Mr. Allen performed for fourteen years as Principal
Timpanist of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra - beginning in 1983. He was also Principal Timpanist of the Grand Teton Music Festival from 1981 - 1988, and spent much time playing extra percussion in the Philadelphia Orchestra during the
years of 1980 - 1984, and 1990 - 1992.
Mr. Allen joined the faculty of Duquesne University in 1999, and since 2009 he has been
a member of the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. Chris began his serious musical training as a freshman in high school when he attended The Juilliard School Pre-College Division, studying with David Fein. He then went on to
attend The Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Gerald Carlyss and Michael
Bookspan. He attended Graduate School at Temple University, studying with Alan Abel.
Christopher Allen Pittsburgh Symphony: Percussion & Associate Principal Timpani
Carnegie Mellon University & Duquesne University: Percussion Faculty
Recognized for his “athletic percussionism, compulsive showmanship and deep musicality” (Guardian), Colin Currie is a solo and chamber artist at the peak of his powers. Championing new music at the highest level, Currie is the soloist of choice for many of today’s foremost composers and he performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.
From his earliest years Currie forged a pioneering path in creating new music for percussion. He was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2000 for his inspirational role in contemporary music-making and received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2005. Currie has premiered works by composers such as Elliott Carter, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Jennifer Higdon, Kalevi Aho, Kurt Schwertsik, Simon Holt, Alexander Goehr, Dave Maric, Julia Wolfe and Nico Muhly. He recently had the privilege of premiering a new work from Elliott Carter: a double concerto performed with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Aldeburgh Festival and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Upcoming commissions include new works by Steve Reich, James MacMillan, Louis Andriessen, Andrew Norman and Anna Clyne.
Currie is an Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre, a role which allows him to develop relationships with artists and ensembles across a variety of art forms, as well as take part in collaborative and educational projects. In autumn 2013 as part of this residency Currie performs seminal works by Stockhausen and Steve Reich within Southbank Centre’s major festival The Rest is Noise. Other highlights of Currie’s 13-14 season include two world premieres: Tapdance by Louis Andriessen with Asko-Schoenberg/Reinbert de Leeuw and a new Percussion Concerto by Andrew Norman with the Utah Symphony/Thierry Fischer. Currie also makes debuts with the Cleveland Orchestra, São Paulo Symphony, and Nagoya Philharmonic, and returns to Bergen Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, MDR Leipzig, Houston Symphony, Toronto Symphony and Cincinnati Symphony among others. In April 2014 Currie launches an adventurous new solo recital programme at the Wigmore Hall which includes a new work for solo marimba by Rolf Wallin, co-commisisoned by Wigmore Hall, Bergen Festival and Sound Festival Aberdeen.
Currie’s dynamic percussion ensemble The Colin Currie Group continues to receive critical acclaim for its performances of numerous Steve Reich works. In 2013 the group made its European debut at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, following their hugely successful international debut with two performances at Tokyo Opera City in 2012, and this season The Colin Currie Group extends it repertoire, performing Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the Royal Festival Hall. Currie regularly collaborates in recital and chamber music with a number of major artists, including Nicholas Hodges, Håkan Hardenberger and the Pavel Haas Quartet.
Currie has recorded many concerto, recital and chamber works including most recently Alexander Goehr’s Since Brass, nor Stone released on NMC in September 2013. His recording of Rautavaara’s Incantations with the Helsinki Philharmonic/Storgårds (Ondine) was released to critical acclaim and won a 2012 Gramophone Award. Previous releases by Currie include MacMillan’s Veni, Veni, Emmanuel with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic/MacMillan on Challenge Classics, Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto with the London Philharmonic/Alsop, which won a 2010 Grammy Award, and a recital discBorrowed Time featuring music by Dave Maric (Onyx).
Colin Hartnett joined the North Carolina Symphony in 2016. He has served as guest principal timpanist with the Minnesota Orchestra, Grant Park Orchestra, New York City Ballet, and New Hampshire Music Festival, and was previously the principal timpanist of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera and the principal timpanist and percussionist of the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra in Cleveland, Ohio. He has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Toledo Symphony, New World Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Reading Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, and Apollo’s Fire.
A native of Rahway, New Jersey, Mr. Hartnett holds a Master of Music degree from Cleveland State University, where he studied with Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra. He also holds a performer’s certificate from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Brown University.
Dave Salay, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, joined the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007. He serves on the faculty of Loyola University in New Orleans and the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra Young Artist Academy. Prior to the LPO, he held the position of Principal Percussion with the West Virginia Symphony. Other orchestras Dave has performed with include the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Canton Symphony and Erie Philharmonic. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Cleveland State University where he studied with Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra. Dave can be heard with the LPO on recordings that are part of the Historic New Orleans Collection. He is an orchestral artist for Freer Percussion and Evans Drum Heads.
David Bergman serves as Principal Percussion for one of the Nation's premier military bands. He studied at the University of North Texas, Duquesne University, Cleveland State University and spent two summers at Music Academy of the West.
David has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, The Orchestra Now, West Virginia Symphony, Canton Symphony, Youngstown Symphony, and the Glens Falls Symphony.He is the drummer for the Broadway Training Center Pit Orchestra and frequently performs with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and regional chamber groups. He has also been a staff accompanist for the Conservatory of Performing Arts Dance Department at Point Park University, and the Mary Miller Dance Company. He was a snare drummer in the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps under Ralph Hardimon as well as the famed University of North Texas ‘A-Line’ under Paul Rennick.
David has received numerous awards and scholarships including winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Chamber Music Competition. He can be heard on "In Thy Sweet Name", an album of renaissance music recorded by Collective Brass in 2018.
David is a Concert Artist/Endorser for Coe Percussion, Zildjian Cymbals, and is the owner of Decibel Percussion.
David Nyberg is a freelance percussionist based in New York City. He has performed with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Symphony, New York City Opera, New York Pops, Seattle Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Stamford Symphony, Opera Orchestra of New York and was principal timpanist with the Asia Pacific-United Symphony at the United Nations.
David was the percussionist for the entire 14 year Broadway production of Mamma Mia! and has also held the regular percussion chairs for the Broadway productions of Cats, Seussical and Liza's at the Palace. Other Broadway credits include: The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, the Lion King, The King and I, Passion, and Les Miserables, among others.
He has performed with Aretha Franklin, Kristen Chenoweth, and toured extensively with Liza Minnelli. David also performed with the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, the Mingus Epitaph conducted by Gunther Schuller and with the U.S. Military Band at West Point. In 2012 David recorded the CD "Solos for the Virtuoso Tympanist" by Fred D. Hinger. This is the collection of all 10 of Mr. Hinger's solo tympani pieces.
David holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music where he was a scholarship student of Fred D. Hinger. David is a Performing Artist for Freer Percussion and Yamaha Percussion Instruments.
Mr. Waddell is a member of the Grant Park Symphony and assistant principal percussionist at the Chicago Lyric Opera. He has been timpanist with the renowned Music of the Baroque ensemble since 1983, and as a member of the Contemporary Chamber Players of Chicago has performed and recorded a wide variety of 20th century chamber works. Mr. Waddell has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Japan with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and can be heard all over the world on hundreds of television and radio commercial jingles. He has appeared as soloist with the Grant Park Symphony, Symphony of the Shores and the Contemporary Chamber Players of Chicago.
But Mr. Waddell’s greatest achievement is directing, along with his wife Patricia Dash, the Chicago Symphony’s Percussion Scholarship Group (PSG), a program that gives extraordinarily talented inner city youth free percussion instruction and performance experiences at Symphony Center from grades 4 through 12. Launched in 1995 as an experimental project for Chicago Public School children to explore their musical ability, the PSG over the past 20 years has showcased and developed the amazing talent of many of the city’s youth.
Douglas currently holds the Principal Timpani Chair with the New Mexico Philharmonic. He joined the Philharmonic after performing with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Principal Timpanist of the National Sphinx Orchestra. Along with these appointments he performs with Santa Fe Pro Musica, Performance Santa Fe, and Chatter Chamber group.
Mr. Cardwell was a Fellowship recipient with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and performed with DSO including recording and touring Eastern and Western Europe. Cardwell received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from James Madison University. He performed with the Houston Symphony Orchestra on an Orchestral Internship earning him a full tuition scholarship to Rice University where he received a Master of Music Performance degree from the Shepherd School of Music. Other credits include the Houston Grand Opera, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Italy and an international tour with the American-Russian Orchestra.
While living in the Detroit area he was a member of "Embaire" which performs West African and Western percussion ensemble music. Their work focused on the drumming of Ghana and Uganda, as well as, compositions for the Ugandan xylophone, from which the ensemble takes its name.
Founder of the jazz quartet, After Five, Cardwell performs Jazz, R&B, & Funk with several groups at local venues when not teaching privately at his percussion studio in Albuquerque.
Douglas feels, “Being able to express my passion for music on stage and educationally is a big gift I’ve been handed, and for that, I’m so very grateful!”
Douglas Cardwell is also a Pearl/Adams and REMO sponsored Concert Artists and performs on Adams Philharmonic Dresden Classic Timpani supported in part by a Sphinx MPower Artist grant.
Eric Millstein is a percussionist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and principal percussion of the Grant Park Orchestra. He plays regularly as an extra musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was previously a member of the New World Symphony and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Eric is on faculty at DePaul University School of Music and has been a percussion coach for the New World Symphony, Midwest Young Artists, and Chicago’s Classical Symphony.
Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, Eric began percussion studies with Nora Davenport. He then earned degrees from the New England Conservatory (where his teacher was Will Hudgins) and Temple University (studying with Alan Abel). Eric also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Tufts University.
Currently timpanist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, ON, Feza Zweifel maintains an active schedule as a versatile performer and arranger. Prior to graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music, Mr. Zweifel appeared frequently with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Opera and Concerto Soloists. Mr. Zweifel appears regularly as an extra or substitute percussionist/timpanist with the Cleveland Orchestra, having toured and recorded with them extensively. He has been a guest assistant principal timpanist of the Boston Symphony, NY Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, and guest principal timpanist of the LA Philharmonic, Ft. Worth Symphony and has played with the orchestras of Indianapolis, Colorado, Columbus, Alabama, Ft. Wayne, Florida, Florida West Coast, Toledo, Charleston (SC), and Sarasota Opera. He has also served as principal percussionist of Opera Cleveland, the Blossom Festival Orchestra, and principal timpanist and percussionist of the Blossom Festival Band. Mr. Zweifel has also participated in the music festivals of Aspen, LA Philharmonic Institute, Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Institute, Colorado Music Festival, and Ojai, CA.
He is co-founder of Burning River Brass; a founding member of Proteus 7 and has arranged extensively for both ensembles. His arrangements can be heard in concert as well as on the ten CDs that have been released between the two groups. As an educator, Mr. Zweifel has served on the faculties of Cleveland State University, Youngstown State University, Case Western Reserve University and has given master classes at the Glen Gould Conservatory, University of Colorado, Southern Methodist University, Duquesne University, Texas Tech, Penn State, Virginia Tech, the Tanglewood Institute and the Tanglewood Music Center. Feza is a Freer Percussion and Pearl/Adams Concert Artist.
Gabriela Jiménez began at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música de México and the Escuela de Perfeccionamiento Vida y Movimiento. In 1985 she was awarded Young Musician first prize by the Mexico State Symphony Orchestra. From 1986 to 1989 Ms. Jimenez was timpanist with the Orquesta Filarmónica del Bajío and taught at the University of Guanajuato as well as directed the Orquesta Filarmónica del Bajío Percussion Quartet. A winner of FONCA project grants in 1994 and 1996, Ms. Jimenez was distinguished in 1998 with the Mozart Medal, a prize given by the Austrian government and the Domecq Cultural Institute.
In 1989 she was given a Fulbright-Benito Juarez scholarship to study at Manhattan School of Music with Chris Lamb and Duncan Patton. While at Manhattan she won the solo competition, the first time that a percussionist had ever won and also the George Shick prize for musical excellence in the class of 1991.
Ms. Jimenez was awarded a scholarship to the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and performed as timpanist and percussion under Bernstein, Ozawa, Previn, Foss, Knussen and Schuller. She has also played in the Manhattan Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Percussion & Contemporary Ensemble, the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra and the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall. In 2004 as a member of the World Peace Orchestra she toured Moscow and Saint Petersburg with Valeri Gergiev. Ms. Jimenez holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Hartford University and the Universidad Anahuac del Sur (Mexico City).
She has performed under the baton of Jorge Mester, Plácido Domingo, Scott Yoo, Grzegorz Nowak, Zaeth Ritter, Jose Miramontes, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Paul McCreesh, Antoni Ros-Marba, Carlos Spierer, David Gilbert, Kurt Masur, Sergio Cardenas, Valery Gergiev, Oliver Knussen, José Areán, José Miramontes, Fernando Lozano, Eduardo Diazmuñóz, Jesús Medina, Carlos Miguel Prieto, David Gilbert, Kurt Massur, Sergio Cárdenas, just to mention a few, and also had the chance to play with legendary conductors: Leonard Bernstein, Eduardo Mata, Lukas Foss, Luis Herrera de la Fuente, Jorge Velazco, Zaeth Ritter.
As a soloist Ms. Jiménez has performed with the Manhattan Philharmonia, Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (México), Orquesta Sinfónica Carlos Chávez, Orquesta de Cámara Morelos, Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM, Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes, Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México, Orquesta Sinfónica del Bajío, Orquesta Sinfónica de San Luis Potosí, and Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de Las Artes.
Mrs. Jimenez presented a series of recitals in Moscow 2017: Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Rachmaninoff’s Hall, June 25th), The Tchaikovsky and Moscow Museum and Cultural Centre (also donation of Prehispanic Instruments from Mexico, June 27th), and Migrant’s House (June 28th), and also gave a Master Class for students at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory (June 26th), as Mexican Culture Ambassador.
Among Mexican and world premieres are: Concierto Voltaje para Timbales y Orquesta, dedicated to Gabriela Jimenez, Concierto Zocalo Tropical and Concierto Candela (all three works by Gabriela Ortiz) and David Noon's Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra. Her repertoire also include Afterlight for Mixed Soloists and Orchestra by Carlos Sanchez, Sonata de los Solares by Valentín Ruiz Lopez, Creation by Tomas de Marco, Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by Salil Shavded, and Moonsticks, dedicated to Gabriela Jimenez by composer Mayer Kupferman, Armand Russell's Concerto for Percussion and Chamber Orchestra, marimba concertos by Robert Kurka, Paul Creston, Jorge Sarmientos, Ney Rosauro, timpani concertos by William Kraft, Ricardo Risco, Ney Rosauro and Sigfried Matthus, Xylophone Concertos by Toshiro Mayuzumi and Alan Hovaness, and Philip Glass' Concerto for Two Timpani and Orchestra. Upcoming solo performances include Concierto Landó for Percussion and Orchestra by Douglas Tarnawiecki, The Big Top by Federico Garcia Castells, and a piece titled “Tres Cuadros para Percusión y Orquesta” by Jorge Ritter and which is dedicated to Gabriela Jimenez.
Since 1981 she is timpanist with the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Mineria and the Mexican Soloist Chamber Orchestra. At the National School of Music and the Escuela de Perfeccionamiento Vida y Movimiento she teaches a wide variety of subjects ranging from timpani and percussion to music philosophy, acoustics, organology and percussion laboratory. Founder of Percusionarte she has ventured into jazz with AtrilV, recording works of Mayer Kupferman.
Growing up in Aloha, Oregon, Greg Akagi has been performing music for his entire life. Starting with piano at age 3, he took up the drums in the third grade. From there he joined the Metropolitan Youth Symphony; and eventually the Portland Youth Philharmonic under the baton of Jacob Avshalomov.
Greg attended Oberlin College and Conservatory earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance and a Bachelors of Arts in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Here Greg was part of many different performance groups at school. He was also one of the original members of the 'Ragtime Ramblers,' and a founding member of the Oberlin Music Coalition. He earned his Master's degree at Cleveland State University. In 2000 he became a section member of both the Canton Symphony and the West Virginia Symphony orchestras. 2004 saw Greg become Principal Percussion with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.
He has subbed with a variety of orchestras around the Midwest, including The Cleveland Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Past summer festivals include Eastern Music Festival, The Music Academy of the West, The Festival Inst. At Round Top, and Britt Music Festival. Currently, Greg hold the title of Assistant Principal Timpanist and Section Percussion with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra/Washington National Opera in Washington D.C., He has been a member since 2006. Previous Primary teachers include Roger Allen, Michael Rosen, Al Otte and Tom Freer.
Gregory Zuber is the principal percussionist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has been a member of the orchestra since 1986. He has toured the United States, Europe, and Japan with the Met, and appeared with the orchestra as a concerto soloist at Carnegie Hall. He can be heard regularly on Met Opera radio broadcasts, satellite radio broadcasts, and HD movie theater broadcasts.
He performs regularly with the Met Chamber Ensemble and also the New York Chamber Music Festival.
He has premiered many works and received works from numerous commissions including those by Seymour Barab, Eric Ewazen, Wayne Petersen, Hsueh-Yung Shen, William Susman, Jude Vaclavik, Alejandro Viñao, and Charles Wuorinen.
He has taught at The Juilliard School since 1993 and been a coach for the Verbier Music Festival since 2000 and as an adjunct faculty member at the Bard College Conservatory. His students have gone on to play with many of the most esteemed orchestras in the world.
Mr. Zuber was born in Boston and grew up in Chicago. As a student he attended the National Music Camp (now the Interlochen Center for the Arts), the Interlochen Arts Academy, the University of Illinois, and graduate school at Temple University. As a student, he was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra and a Fellow at the Tanglewood Center for the Arts, as well as performing in the Chicago Civic Orchestra.
Before joining the Met he served as Principal Percussionist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra for one season. His teachers include Tom Siwe of the University of Illinois, James Ross of the Chicago Symphony, and Alan Abel of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Mr. Zuber has the pleasure of performing chamber music with his wife, flutist Patricia Zuber. He is an avid downhill skier, lap swimmer, and cyclist. He has two wonderful daughters!
Chicago-based percussionist Ian Ding is a versatile performer specializing in contemporary music and orchestral percussion. He appears around the world with major ensembles and is an in-demand soloist, teacher, and chamber musician. Currently, he is a founding member and co-director of New Music Detroit, a member of the Fulcrum Point New Music Project (Chicago) and the Virgil Moorefield Pocket Orchestra (Zurich), and serves on the percussion faculty at the DePaul University School of Music.
Ian is a frequent guest with major symphony orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed extensively with chamber ensembles Bang on a Can All-Stars, Alarm Will Sound, Marc Mellits Consort, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series.
Ian is the artistic director and producer of Strange Beautiful Music, New Music Detroit’s annual marathon concert of contemporary and experimental music, and is also a former board member of the American Composers Forum. Recent projects include commissions of new solo percussion works by composers Lukas Ligeti, Virgil Moorefield, and Evan Ziporyn, and serving as producer for New Music Detroit’s first album featuring the chamber music of Marc Mellits.
Ian served as Assistant Principal Percussionist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 2003-2011 and Lecturer of Percussion at the University of Michigan from 2005-2014, and was a fellow of the New World Symphony in Miami from 2001-2003 and the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland from 2000-2001. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the Juilliard School, where his teachers included Tom Stubbs, Thomas Siwe, Jim Ross, William Moersch, and Gregory Zuber.
Jay Ritchie joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2016 as Assistant Principal Timpanist and Section Percussionist. In 2019, he was featured as soloist with the DSO in Philip Glass’ Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra along with DSO colleague Jeremy Epp. Prior to his DSO appointment, Jay was a regular extra with the Cleveland Orchestra, Principal Timpanist of the Blossom Festival Orchestra and performed frequently with other groups in the Cleveland area. Jay has also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic and the Buffalo Philharmonic.
Jay spends his summers performing at a variety of festivals, most recently including the Sun Valley Music Festival. Previously, he was Principal Timpanist with the National Repertory Orchestra, and has also performed at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Pacific Music Festival, and the Britten-Pears Orchestra. An active educator, Jay maintains a private teaching studio in Detroit, and also works often with percussionists in the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles. He is an endorser and clinician for Freer Percussion and Remo, and has given masterclasses at major conservatories and universities throughout the US.
A native of Blacksburg, Virginia, Jay began studying piano at age 8 and percussion at age 11. He received his Bachelor of Music from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Duncan Patton, Chris Lamb, and She-e Wu, and completed his Master of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Paul Yancich and Marc Damoulakis.
Jeffrey DeRoche is currently a percussionist in the U.S. Navy Concert/Ceremonial Band in Washington, D.C., a position he has held since 2014. In addition to his duties with the Band, he performs frequently with the National Symphony Orchestra and is on faculty at the University of Mary Washington. Prior to his appointment to the band, he performed regularly with the Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, and West Virginia Symphony, and was a member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra. He holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from DePaul University where he studied with Marc Damoulakis, Eric Millstein and Ted Atkatz. He continued his studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, pursuing a Professional Studies Diploma with Rich Weiner and Paul Yancich. He has performed under conductors such as Franz Welser-Möst, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, and many others, and can be heard on recordings with the Detroit Symphony under Leonard Slatkin. During the summers of 2013 and 2014 he was a percussion fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, and has also attended summer festivals in Colorado and Italy.
Jeremy Branson is the Associate principal percussionist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his appointment in the Pittsburgh Symphony, Branson was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. During that time he also played regularly with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Branson has performed under the batons of such conductors as James Conlon, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Manfred Honeck, Andris Nelsons, Leonard Slatkin, Gerard Schwartz, Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas and David Zinman. He has performed with notable artists including Emanuel Ax, Sarah Chang, Renee Fleming, Hilary Hahn, Thomas Hampson, Lynn Harrell, Lang Lang, Yo Yo Ma, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Andre Watts. Branson has premiered works by composers such as John Adams, Richard Danielpour, Michael Gandolfi, Philip Glass, Jennifer Higdon, Gyorgi Ligeti, Steven Mackey and Christopher Theofanidis.
Branson earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Texas State University. He then earned his Masters of Music degree from Temple University in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Alan Abel. During his education, Branson attended the Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, National Orchestral Institute, Roundtop Music Festival and the Texas Music Festival.
Jeremy Epp was appointed Principal Timpanist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 2014 after holding the same position with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for four seasons. Prior to this, he served as Principal Timpanist of the Erie Philharmonic.
Jeremy has made an appearances with several North American orchestras as Guest Principal Timpanist, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. As a percussionist, he has performed, recorded and toured with numerous other ensembles throughout the United States and Canada.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Jeremy studied extensively with Jauvon Gilliam of the National Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his appointment in Winnipeg, he attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where his teachers were Cleveland Orchestra members Paul Yancich and Richard Weiner. Additionally, Jeremy has worked with several other prominent timpanists, including David Herbert, Mark Yancich, and Dean Borghesani.
During the summer months, Jeremy’s engagements have included serving as Principal Timpanist of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Bear Valley Festival Orchestra. He has also studied and performed at the Aspen Music Festival.
Active as an educator, Jeremy has been an instructor at the University of Manitoba, and has given clinics and master classes internationally.
principal timpani Louisiana Philharmonic
Jim Babor has been a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since 1993. In addition to his performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mr. Babor regularly participates in concerts for the Philharmonic's Green Umbrella Series. His solo engagements have included performing the Xylorimba Solo in Oliver Messiaen’s "Des Canyons Aux Etoles" with Esa Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Mr. Babor received his B.M. degree from Texas A&M University, Commerce in Commerce, Texas and his M.M. from the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio. Jim has studied with Richard Weiner, Paul Yancich, Cloyd Duff, and Doug Howard. He has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, and the New World Symphony. Jim has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Telarc, Teldec, and London.
In April of 2012, Jim was the featured soloist in Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto during the University of Southern California’s “Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative”. Jim is a Remo Orchestral Artist and an endorser of Pearl/Adams Percussion, Sabian Cymbals, and Freer . He is also on the faculty of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.
Joseph Becker has been Principal Percussionist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 2012. Prior to his appointment in Detroit, he was a member of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.
Becker has performed with the Boston Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Kansas City Symphony, and is a member of New Music Detroit. Currently a lecturer at the University of Michigan, he has been an active educator in the US and abroad.
A native of Rhode Island, Becker received his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Frank Epstein and Will Hudgins, and his master’s degree from Boston University, studying with Tim Genis. He was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center from 2008-09.
Joel Panian joined the Jacksonville Symphony in 2012. He was also a member of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and has performed as an extra percussionist with The Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, and the Blue Water Chamber Orchestra in Cleveland, Ohio. For two seasons Joel was principal timpanist with the Finger Lakes Opera in Geneseo, New York and has performed with the percussion section of the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Duquesne University where he studied with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra members Jeremy Branson, Chris Allen, and Andrew Reamer, and his Master of Music degree from Cleveland State University where he had the opportunity to study with Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra. Joel also had the pleasure of attending the Brevard Music Center for three summers where he had additional studies with Charles Ross of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Conrad Alexander. Joel is proud to endorse Freer Percussion and Sabian products.
John Kinzie is the Principal Percussionist of the Colorado Symphony. He was born in Pittsburgh and began his musical studies on the piano at the age of five. When band was introduced in the schools, he quickly switched to the drums. He received scholarships to the University of Toledo and the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Robert Bell, Richard Weiner and Paul Yancich. Prior to joining the Colorado Symphony as Principal Percussionist in 1985, he was Principal Percussionist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, a position he won at the age of 19. John has appeared with Strings in the Mountains, The National Repertory Orchestra, and the Grand Teton music festivals and has been a featured soloist with the Toledo Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, Yale School of Music, Grand Teton Music Festival and the Colorado Symphony on numerous occasions. He also performs with the Colorado Symphony chamber group ?Once Upon a Time?, a group formed to inspire the imaginations of young schoolchildren and to excite them about music. In 1996 he became the head of the percussion division of the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver where he teaches percussion and timpani performance as well as percussion ensemble, master classes, and percussion pedagogy and repertoire. In his spare time, he enjoys golf, skiing, and hanging out with his wife, Colorado Symphony violinist Karen Kinzie, and their four sons, Ryan, Karl, Grant and Reid.
John Shaw is the principal percussionist with The Florida Orchestra, which he joined in 1992. He has been with the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC since 2008, where he also serves as principal percussion. Shaw earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Florida State University, where he studied with Gary Werdesheim, and a Master of Music degree from Temple University as a student of noted Philadelphia Orchestra percussionist Alan Abel. Mr. Shaw has been featured as a soloist with The Florida Orchestra many times, performing the Concerto for Percussion by Joseph Schwantner, Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion by Bela Bartók, and Veni, Veni, Emmanuel by James MacMillan. His eight-member steel drum band, the Tampa Bay Steel Orchestra, was featured with The Florida Orchestra in both March 2005 and October 2009 as part of the orchestra’s pops series. He will perform Tan Dun’s Water Concerto with TFO in April 2014.
Mr. Shaw has also been the head of the percussion studio at St. Petersburg College since 1996, directing the Percussion Ensemble and Steel Drum Band as well as teaching applied lessons. Additionally, Mr. Shaw is the principal percussionist with Opera Tampa and St. Petersburg Opera. He currently serves as vice-president of the Florida chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, and presented a masterclass on orchestral percussion at the society’s 2010 International Convention. He is an artist for Zildjian, Pearl/Adams and Freer Percussion.
John Spirtas joined the Washington National Opera Orchestra and Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra in 2000 as Principal Percussionist. In this capacity he has performed with Placido Domingo, Bryn Terfel, Renee Fleming and many other stars in the world of opera and has accompanied the Bolshoi, Kirov, Royal, American Ballet Theater, and New York City Ballet Companies. He also performs annually in the nationally-televised Kennedy Center Honors. John currently serves on faculty at George Mason University as Adjunct Professor in Percussion and at Washington Adventist University in the same capacity. His students have attended the Sewanee, Texas, and Eastern Music Festivals. He previously taught at Shenandoah Conservatory from 2004-2006, where as head of the percussion program and adjunct Associate Professor of Music. Prior to joining the KCOHO, John was a percussionist in the New World Symphony, in Miami Beach, Florida. He performed with the NWS in the 2000 American Mavericks Festival in San Francisco under the batons of Michael Tilson Thomas and composer John Adams. John was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 1998, and at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo Japan in 1996 and 1997. He also attended the Aspen, Eastern and Chautauqua festivals. John is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the New England Conservatory of Music. His teachers include Alan Abel, Will Hudgins, Salvatore Rabbio, Michael Udow and Nora Davenport.
Jon Greeney is the Principal Timpanist of the Oregon Symphony. He is also an adjunct professor of percussion studies at Portland State University. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance from the Peabody Conservatory, and a Master of Music Degree in Performance from Cleveland State University. His teachers at Peabody included percussion virtuosos Robert van Sice and Jonathan Haas, and at Cleveland State he studied with Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra. He has performed as an orchestral percussionist, timpanist, and as a chamber musician in numerous concerts including those at The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. In 2006 he won a position in the Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa in Veracruz Mexico, where he performed as a full time section percussionist until the Summer of 2008. Since joining the Oregon Symphony in the Fall of 2010, he and his family have resided happily in Portland Oregon.
Originally hailing from New Zealand, Jonathan has been involved in musical pursuits of one form or other since the age of four. While attending the University of Auckland where he completed studies for a BMus(Hons), Jonathan was a regular performer with the Auckland Philharmonia , as well as a number of other groups and ensembles throughout the region. The recipient of a number of scholarships to aid in study abroad, Jonathan moved to the United States in 1998 to commence studies with Tom Freer at Cleveland State University.
During his studies towards a MMus, Jonathan performed regularly with many orchestras in the area. Jonathan has been the Principal Timpanist of the Washington National Opera Orchestra/ Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra since 2000. In this capacity he has performed with the likes of Placido Domingo, Bryn Terfel, Renee Fleming and Kiri te Kanawa, under the batons of conductors like Valery Gergiev, Andre Previn and Sir Edward Downes, as well as with many of the premier international ballet companies. As a soloist, Jonathan has performed the Philip Glass Double Timpani Concerto.
Jordan Wirth, percussionist, timpanist, and educator is the Acting Principal Percussionist of the Toledo Symphony, former Principal Percussionist of the Youngstown Symphony, Principal Timpanist of the Lakeside Symphony, and Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Sheridan College. Since he moved to Ohio he has regularly been invited to play in the percussion sections of such orchestras as the Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra. Buffalo Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, New World Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Erie Philharmonic and the West Virginia Symphony where his performance was lauded as “... Brilliant!” by the Charleston Gazette.
As a soloist, Mr. Wirth has been featured with the Evanston (IL) Symphony playing the critically acclaimed Jennifer Higdon Percussion Concerto and with the St. Cloud (MN) Symphony playing Ney Rosauro’s popular Marimba Concerto. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and a Master of Music degree from Cleveland State University. During his education he was a student of Tom Freer, Kevin Watkins, and Terry Vermillion. He has also done extensive study with Leigh Howard Stevens and Tim Adams. Jordan has toured with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony. He can be heard on the Naxos music label playing with the Detroit Symphony and the Buffalo Philharmonic.
Josef Gumpinger has been Principal timpanist of the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Vienna (ORF) since 2009. Previously, he was a percussionist in the ORF and also a percussionist with the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz. Josef received his degree from the Anton Bruckner Conservatory while studying with Prof. Johann Gschwandtner. His other orchestral experiences have been with many orchestras including:
The Vienna Philharmonic
Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Vienna State Opera
Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra
Austrian Youth Symphony Orchestra
Jeunesse Orchestra Vienna
Jeunesse Orchester Linz
As a teacher, Josef has been professor of classical percussion at the Leonard Bernstein Institute of the MDW Vienna since 2011 and also spent many years teaching at the Konservatorium Wien and at the Anton Bruckner Private University. He has had many successful students who hold permanent positions in the Vienna Philharmonic, Volksoper Vienna, Carinthian Symphony Orhestra, Graz Philharmonic, Burckner Orchestra Linz, RSO Vienna to name a few. Many of his students have also been extremely successful at international solo competitions as well.
As a solo artist he has had appearances at festivals including Wien modern, steirischer herbst, bridges the present, Festival of the regions, Loisiarte, Linz 2009 etc. Solo concerts with orchestras and ensembles such as RSO, which series, counterpoints and Supercussion Vienna under the direction of F.W. Möst, M. Gielen, D.R. Davies, F. cerha,. K. Schwertsik, H.K.. Gruber, P. Kaluarachchi, J. Kalitzke, P. Rophé, O. Sallaberger etc. Live radio broadcasts on Ö1, with numerous world premieres. Josef is also a mentor and co-developer of the Viennese timpani workshop and has submitted numerous articles on various topics on Ö1.
As a chamber musician Josef has performed with the It series, Counterpoints, founding member of Vienna Supercussion, Austrian Chamber Orchestra, Austrian drums and mallet corporation, Vienna Concert Club and the Imperial Orchestra of Vienna.
Joseph Kelly joined the Toronto Symphony in 2018 as Assistant Timpanist and Section Percussionist. Previously he was a member of the percussion section at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. Joe has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Malaysia Philharmonic, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Fort Worth Symphony.
In 2013 and 2014 Mr. Kelly was selected to be a member of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, where he performed orchestral and chamber works and was the soloist in Evan Antonellis’ Multiple Histories. In 2014 Joe joined the Lucerne Festival Academy
Mr. Kelly received his bachelor’s degree in percussion performance and master’s degree in orchestral performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where he was a recipient of the Elizabeth Beineke Scholarship
Joseph Petrasek joined the Kansas City Symphony as Associate Principal Percussionist in August 2009. Prior to his appointment, he served as a percussion fellow in the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. Joseph has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Pacific Symphony. Originally from Southern California, Joseph earned his bachelors degree at UCLA studying under Mitchell Peters, former Timpanist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He went on to get a masters degree at Temple University, studying with Philadelphia Orchestra percussionists Alan Abel and Angela Zator-Nelson. Mr. Petrasek has had additional training at numerous summer festivals including the Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra, Roundtop Festival-Institute, Chautaqua Institute, and the Idyllwild Festival Orchestra. Joseph is a proud endorser of Zildjian cymbals and Pearl/Adams products and Freer Percussion.
Joseph Tompkins has performed with many of the major orchestras in the New York City area, including the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, the St. Luke’s Orchestra, and the REBEL Baroque Orchestra. For ten years Tompkins performed new music in a variety of settings with Timetable, a percussion trio he co-founded that committed to commissioning and performing new works. He has written a number of pieces for rudimental snare drum, which have been performed in the United States and abroad. Tompkins has studied Latin percussion at the Boys Harbor Conservatory with Jose Madeira and George Delgado, and with Rolando Morales and Javier Diaz. He can be heard on soundtracks for a number of feature films and has performed in over a dozen Broadway productions. Currently, he is head of the percussion department at the Mason Gross School of Rutgers University. Tompkins received his Bachelors degree from the Eastman School of Music and his Masters degree from the Manhattan School.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Joshua Jones began his studies in percussion with the Percussion Scholarship Program under the direction of Chicago Symphony member Patricia Dash, and Lyric Opera member Douglas Waddell. He earned his Bachelor’s in Music from DePaul School of Music and also studied, for a short period of time, at both the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Carnegie Mellon University. Jones was the orchestra fellow of both the Detroit and Pittsburgh symphonies, as well as a guest percussionist with the Chautauqua and Chicago symphonies. Jones has been featured at Carnegie Hall, on radio and television, and has had two short documentaries made about his musical development and experience. He also writes musical and philosophical blogs on his website, drummojo.com, and has authored a drum method series, "Spatial Studies for Hitting Things". Jones is the current principal percussionist of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and enjoys giving back to the community as well as mentoring young musicians and traveling.
Kevin Watkins has been a member of the Minnesota Orchestra percussion section since 1999. Prior to joining Minnesota, Kevin was member of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic for two seasons. A native of Kansas City, he studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Michael Rosen, and then at Cleveland State University with Tom Freer.
During that time, he performed at the Aspen, Schleswig-Holstein, and Music Academy of the West summer festivals. He frequently performs in the Minnesota Orchestra chamber music series as well as its Kinder Konzert program. He has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and can be heard on recordings by BIS, Reference Recordings, and Opus One. Kevin's hobbies include golfing, running, fishing, and preparing Kansas City style barbecue on his CS-680 wood pellet smoker.
Principal Timpanist of the Houston Symphony, Leonardo also served as Principal Timpanist of the Charlotte Symphony and the Michigan Opera Theatre-Detroit Opera House for 6 seasons. As an educator and instructor, Mr. Soto is faculty member at Queens University of Charlotte as well as instructor for both the Charlotte Youth Symphony and the Charlotte Symphony education program. Leonardo often travels back to his native Chile to perform recitals, master classes and clinics that take place at the National University of Chile, the Youth Symphony foundation and the National Symphony concert hall, where students arrive from different countries of South America.
As a soloist, Mr. Soto made his debut with the Charlotte Symphony this past season, and has been invited to perform with the Amarillo Symphony in Texas Every summer Mr Soto travels to Steamboat springs in Colorado, to take part of the 'Strings in the mountains' music festival as a Timpanist and percussionist for the orchestra and chamber music series Recently Mr Soto became a part or the board of advisors at WDAV, Charlotte's classical radio station.
Begun his Bachelor degree at the University of Chile where he received the 'Teatro Municipal of Santiago National Scholarship' for 4 years. At the same time he was trained as Latin percussionist by his own father Mr. Leonardo Soto Sr. who is one Chile's most prominent musicians in the field. Mr. Soto begun his professional career as a substitute Percussionist with the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony of Chile, gaining experience in Orchestral, Opera and Ballet repertoire.
In 1997 he received the 'Fundacion Andes International Scholarship'. This award was received after competing internationally against young musicians from Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. The Scholarship brought him to finish his education in the USA at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA, where he studied with Timpanist Timothy Adams from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. After relocating in the United States, Mr. Soto has worked and toured with ensembles such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, City Music Cleveland, among others. Also as Latin Percussionist Mr. Soto has recorded and toured with a number of artist and bands from the Pennsylvania, Southern Michigan and the New York area. In 2009 Mr. Soto was made an honorary student at Cleveland State University, by his most recent teacher Mr. Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra. Leonardo is endorsed by Freer Percussion products and REMO Drum heads.
A native Taiwanese, Lider Chang was appointed principal timpanist of the Guangzhou Symphony
Orchestra, which is one of the most prestigious orchestras in China. Chang is also the director of
percussion studies at Xinghai Conservatory in Guangzhou.
In January 2014, he premiered Michael Daugherty’s timpani concerto “Raise the Roof” in China
with Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. In April 2015, he premiered David Mancini’s drum set
concerto with Guangzhou Percussion Ensemble in Macau. In 2016, he premiered Jacobs TV and
Gene Koshiski’s chamber works at the 2nd Contemporary Music Festival in Guangzhou.
Known as one of the famous timpanists both in China and Taiwan, he has worked with renowned
conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach, Lorin Maazel, Antoni Wit, Eiji Oue, Claus Peter Flor,
John Nelson, etc… and being invited as guest principal by Macau Orchestra、NCPA Orchestra in
Since coming back to Asia in 2005, he has given several master classes in Taiwan, China and
Korea, and host clinics for timpanists/percussionists of Berlin Philharmonic, New York
Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, as well as Dennis Chambers, John Riley, etc.
As a dedicated educator, Chang’s blog was recommended by the China Times as one of the best
blog of the year. He is also the column writer for Music Weekly in Beijing for promoting percussion
arts, the average page views are more than 50,000 hits per article.
He also serves as the Vice President of percussion association of Guangdong province and Board
member of International Percussion Education Association in Shanghai.
He also endorses Adams Timpani/Mallet Instruments, Black Swamp Percussion, Canopus Drums,
Schlagwerk Percussion, Zildjian Cymbals.
He is Native of La Serena, Chile, currently he is a member of The Percussion section of The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile. He Began his Bachelor degree at the University of La Serena, and his professional career as a substitute Percussionist with the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony of Chile, gaining experience in Orchestral, Opera and Ballet repertoire. As an educator and instructor, Mr. Barraza is member of The University of Chile since 2000.
In 1997 he received the 'Fundacion Andes International Scholarship'. This award was given after competing internationally against young musicians from Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. The Scholarship brought him to finish his education in the USA at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA, where he studied with The Timpanist Timothy Adams from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. From 2008-2010 he received a Fulbright Scholarship to make a Master degree in music at Cleveland State University as a student of Tom Freer.
After relocating in Chile, Mr. Barraza has worked and toured with all the Chilean Orchestras. As a teacher, he recently made the first Drum competition in Chile and made regularly a Master classes in orchestral performance and luthery workshop also has participation recording for a Naxos classic music. He is the prresident and CEO of Mbeatpercusion.
Mark Griffith joined the Houston Symphony in 2004. Before coming to Houston, he was a percussionist and assistant timpanist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Prior to that, he was a percussionist with the New World Symphony, led by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. Mark has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Honolulu Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Naples Philharmonic, and the National Repertory Orchestra.
A native Texan, Mark grew up in Dallas. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Michigan where he was the recipient of the prestigious Charlie Owen Memorial Scholarship. Mark did undergraduate music studies at Wheaton College in Chicago, where he twice won the university’s concerto competition, performing marimba concertos by Paul Creston and Jorge Sarmientos. His teachers include Alan Abel, Michael Udow, Salvatore Rabbio, Kathleen Kastner, and Leigh Howard Stevens.
Mark’s playing can be heard on a number of orchestral and chamber music recordings from the RCA, Naxos, Equilibrium and Koch International labels. An active chamber musician and educator, he performs with Da Camera of Houston, the Greenbriar Consortium, and is active in the Houston Symphony’s educational outreach programs. In addition to percussion, Mark is trained as a pianist and organist, and holds a private pilot license. Mark is an artist endorser for Sabian and Freer Percussion.
Mark Hodges is currently the Principal Percussionist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he has held since 1998. He also is a member of the percussion faculty at the State University of New York, Buffalo State College. Hodges has performed in over twenty-two recordings with the Buffalo Philharmonic as well as many with the Cleveland Orchestra. In addition to his recordings and performances, Hodges has been featured multiple times as a soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and as a guest artist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011.
Prior to his engagement with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Hodges held the positions of Principal Percussionist of the West Virginia Symphony, Section Percussionist of the West Virginia Symphony, Principal Percussionist of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, and Percussionist of the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra. Other orchestral engagements include The Cleveland Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, Louisville Symphony, Canton Symphony, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Hodges is the founder of the Buffalo-based company Druminar™, a corporate training, leadership development, and team building consulting firm. Druminar is employed by Fortune 100 companies, national banks, international manufacturing companies, and major non-profit corporations designed to teach both business managers and employees the value of highly functioning teams, resulting in increased levels of employee/team engagement and business performance.
As an artist/endorser for Freer Percussion, Zildjian Cymbals, and Pro-Mark, Hodges has been a clinician, adjudicator and lecturer throughout the United States including the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). Hodges received his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and his Master of Music in Percussion from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Mark Libby holds the position of Principal Percussion for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, where he has been a member since 2000. Prior to joining the Alabama Symphony, Mr. Libby was a member of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for three seasons.
A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Cleveland State University, Mr. Libby was a student of Richard Weiner, Tom Freer, and Paul Yancich, all of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Mr. Libby has performed in concert, on tour, and in recording with The Cleveland Orchestra, and has appeared as an extra musician with the Atlanta Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and the Peninsula Music Festival.
Dubbed by critics as "A wizard of percussion", Austrian multipercussionist Martin Grubinger performs with many of the top orchestras at the world's most prestigious venues. Grubinger's repertoire is unusually broad and ranges from solo works and chamber music, with partners including pianists Ferhan and Ferzan Önder, to large ensemble programmes.
Grubinger has had an increasing number of works specially written for him, amongst them Rolf Wallin's Das war schön!, Anders Koppel's Concerto No. 3, Avner Dorman's Frozen in Time and Friedrich Cerha's Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, performed and recorded with the Wiener Philharmoniker under the baton of Peter Eötvös on Kairos, as well as Tan Dun's new concerto, receiving its premiere this season. His well known percussion projects "The Percussive Planet" and the recently premiered "Caribbean Showdown" show his versatility .
Highlights of the current season include premieres of the percussion concertos by Tan Dun and HK Gruber, his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach and an appearance with the Tonkünstler Orchestra at Schloss Grafenegg's televised summer gala. He returns to the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under Riccardo Chailly and is artist in residence with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra throughout the season and ‘artiste étoile’ of the 2013 Lucerne Festival. 2011/12 included debuts with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Bamberger Symphoniker, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Orquesta Sinfonica de Euskadi alongside a concert tour to Taiwan and Korea. Other milestones in his career include tours with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under and Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Breme.
In 2008/09 he was named Artist in Residence of the Leipzig Gewandhaus; residencies with the Camerata Salzburg, at the Philharmonie Köln, Philharmonie München and Wiener Konzerthaus followed. Martin Grubinger has also appeared with NHK Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg and NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Münchner, Hamburger and Dresdner Philharmoniker, and Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León.
In 2011, he made his US debut with the Kansas City Symphony. Regular guest appearances lead him to the Rheingau und Schleswig-Holstein Music festivals,Bregenzer Festspiele, Weimar Kunstfest, Salzburg Festival, Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, the Brass & Percussion Festival in Tokyo's famous Suntory Hall and the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.
Martin Grubinger is recipient of the Bernstein Award by the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival and the prestigious Jeunesses Musicales' Würth Prize. He records exclusively for Deutsche Grammophon; his first CD recording 'Drums 'n' Chant' (released in October 2010) was soon followed by a live recording of 'The Percussive Planet' on DVD.
Born in Salzburg, Martin Grubinger studied at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz and at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He had already garnered attention in his youth, having appeared at several international competitions, amongst others at the second World Marimbaphone Competition held in Okaya, Japan, and at the EBU Competition in Norway.
Matthew Decker begins his position as Assistant Principal Timpanist/Section
Percussionist in the Seattle Symphony in the 2016–2017 season. Before joining the
Seattle Symphony Decker spent two seasons as the Assistant Principal Percussionist
of the North Carolina Symphony. He was also a fellow of the New World Symphony
during the 2013–2014 season. His resume includes concert appearances with the
New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Columbus
Indiana Philharmonic and the Battle Creek Symphony in Michigan. With Battle Creek,
he made his solo debut in 2009, performing Russell Peck's triple percussion concerto
The Glory and the Grandeur. Decker was a 2011 fellow at the Tanglewood Music
Center and also spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West and Round
Top Festival. He was also a student at the Eastern Music Festival under Gerard
Schwarz where he joined the faculty in the summer of 2016.
Decker has worked with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Masur, Christoph
Eschenbach, Alan Gilbert, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Ludovic Morlot and had the
privilege of performing in a master class with Yo-Yo Ma.
Decker studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Christopher Lamb, Duncan
Patton and She-e Wu. He also attended Roosevelt University, where he studied with
Vadim Karpinos. A native of Seymour, Indiana, he began his musical training with
Paul Berns of the Indianapolis Symphony.
A winner of the 2010 Kerope Zildjian Scholarship and a finalist in the 2009 Atlanta
Snare Drum Competition, Decker is also an avid enthusiast of novelty and ragtime
music of the early 1900s with a special interest in the xylophone repertoire of the time.
Percussionist Matthew McKay joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season. Prior to joining the BSO, Mr. Mckay was a percussionist with the Oregon Symphony for two seasons. A native of Fairfax, Virginia, he began playing percussion at the age of ten, though his musical training began with the violin at the age of four and he began piano at age seven. In his high school years he studied privately with former National Symphony Orchestra timpanist John Tafoya through the National Symphony Youth Fellowship program, and with Bill Richards, a retired member of the U.S. Army Band. Mr. McKay earned his bachelor's degree from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with BSO percussionist J. William Hudgins. As an undergraduate, he won the annual percussion mock audition in both 2008 and 2009. He then continued his studies with BSO timpanist Tim Genis at Boston University, where he completed his master's degree in 2011. In addition to the Oregon Symphony, Mr. McKay has performed with the BSO, Boston Pops, Boston Philharmonic, and the San Diego and Jacksonville symphony orchestras. His summer engagements have included two Tanglewood Music Center fellowships, as well as fellowships at the Spoleto Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, and National Orchestral Institute. Also an avid chamber musician, he has performed and recorded Bartók's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion in Jordan Hall and in the American premiere of Elliott Carter's What Are Years with the Tanglewood Music Center. Mr. McKay has also been a member of the Third Angle new music ensemble in Portland, Oregon.
Michael Downing is section percussionist with the Sacramento Philharmonic and the Stockton Symphony, as well as the founder of the Impetus Percussion Quartet. He is the Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Fresno Pacific University and holds Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Fresno State. An active freelance musician, has performed with virtually every orchestra in Central California. For the last ten years, he has been invited to play with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra in Grass Valley, CA. Michael also enjoys teaching private lessons and giving clinics for local schools, as well as being an active member of the California Chapter of PAS.
Michael has been featured as a soloist with both the Phoenix Symphony and the Stockton Symphony performing "Uzu and Muzu from Kakaruzu". The double percussion concerto written by Avner Dorman, was premiered by Michael and fellow percussionist Graham Thompson in 2012. He has also been a soloist with several other orchestras performing the third movement of Eric Ewazen's Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra, and has been featured as the vibraphone soloist for John William's Escapades.
Michael studied primarily with Jim Babor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Dr. Matthew Darling of Fresno State. While preparing for orchestral auditions, he has taken lessons with such notable percussionists as Tom Freer, Richard Weiner, Trey Wyatt, Michael Rosen, and Rick Kvistad. Michael is proud artist for Freer Percussion, an Education Artist for Marimba One, and part of the Blackswamp Percussion Educator Network.
Originally from Pittsburgh PA, Mike received his Bachelor's and Master's degree from Carnegie Mellon University studying with Timothy K. Adams, Jr., Principal Timpani with the Pittsburgh Symphony (retired) and Paul Evans, Percussionist with the River City Brass Band. Postgraduate studies include a drum set performance certificate from Los Angeles Music Academy and Cleveland State University where he studied with Tom Freer, Assistant Principal Timpani/Percussion with the Cleveland Orchestra. Mike has performed with the Baltimore Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Charlotte Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Erie Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, and West Virginia Symphony Orchestras. Mike Currently lives in Virginia Beach with his wife Alice and son Valentine.
Before joining the Seattle Symphony as Principal Percussionist in the fall of 2009, Michael Werner was a percussionist with the Metropolitan Opera for 13 years, and Principal Percussionist for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for 2.
Michael has also performed with The Cleveland Orchestra, The Pittsburgh Symphony, The Metropolitan Opera Chamber Ensemble, The Metropolitan Opera Percussion Ensemble,The Seattle Chamber Music Society,The Canadian Brass and Empire Brass Ensembles, and at The Santa Barbara International Percussion Festival.
Mr. Werner is on faculty at The Mannes School of Music in New York, and Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. He has served as a Clinician and Instructor for the Percussive Arts Society, The New World Symphony, Oberlin Percussion Institute, Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, The Cleveland Institute of Music, and The New England Conservatory. He also serves as an Artist and Clinician for Pearl Percussion, Zildjian Symbols, and Freer Percussion.
Michael started his secondary studies at the Eastman School of Music, under John Beck. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Richard Wiener. Michael also studied with Tom Freer at Cleveland State University.
Miguel was previously the principal timpanist of Orquesta Filarmónica de Chile for 24 years at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile.
Professor of percussion at the Facultad de Artes of Universidad de Chile.
Miguel has been coaching the percussion section of Youth National Symphony Orchestra at the Fundación de Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles for many years.
As a recitalist, he performed “la Koro Sutro” with Lou Harrison and the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra.
As a student in the US, he studied at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with George Gaber.
He has also performed with such notable soloists as Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Alfredo Kraus, José Carreras, Shlomo Mintz, Ray Chen, June Anderson, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Roberto Diaz. Between 2015 and 2016 he was invited to record with “La Nelson Dominguez” and “Tricahue Saxophones and Percussion” musical fusion ensembles, as a vibraphonist and percussionist, touring Greece, Poland and Holland
Mr. Zárate has performed under the batons of many of the worlds great conductors including:
Michael Tilson Thomas
PMF Pacífic Music Festival, Sapporo Japan
Juan Pablo Izquierdo Chile, USA
Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos
Mika Eichenholz, Chile.
Michael Kemp, a native of Rochester, NY, was appointed Principal Timpanist of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in 2015. Prior to this,he served as the Principal Timpanist of the Erie Philharmonic in Erie, PA. In demand as a Guest Principal Timpanist, Michael has appeared with many orchestras including the Detroit Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, and the Reading Symphony. He has also performed as a percussionist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and can be heard performing on the NAXOS label. Michael received both his Bachelors and Masters degree in Percussion Performance from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he studied with Edward Stephan, Chris Allen, Andrew Reamer, and Jeremy Branson of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Mr. Kemp attended Cleveland State University where he studied with Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra. Michael previously served as the Principal Timpanist of the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO and has attended the Aspen Music Festival, Brevard Music Center Institute, and the Chautauqua Music Festival. Mr. Kemp is a proud endorser of Freer Percussion products and Remo drumheads.
The coming year sees Neil enjoying the joint milestone of 20 years as Principal Percussionist of the London Symphony Orchestra and 12 years as Head of the Timpani and Percussion Department at the Royal Academy of Music. During this time, Neil has worked closely with many major artists and conductors and as a soloist with Sir Colin Davis, Pierre Boulez, Steve Reich, Karl Jenkins, Ravi Shankar, Kent Nagano and Elgar Howarth.
The EMI recording of Karl Jenkins Marimba Concerto and Triple Concerto for Percussion, Flutes and Keyboards, was released recently to wide critical acclaim, as was the Grammy nominated Bartok Concerto for 2 Pianos and Percussion for Deutsche Grammophon with Pierre Boulez, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Tamara Stefanovich, Nigel Thomas and the LSO.
In both live and studio situations, Neil has worked closely with many composers for film scores, notably John Williams, James Horner, Patrick Doyle, and Alexandre Desplat with their music for films such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Braveheart and Twilight-New Moon.
Neil has also enjoyed working with many major pop and jazz artists including Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, Natalie Cole, Dave Brubeck, Joe Zawinul, Tony Bennett, Luther Vandross and Vince Mendoza.
Neil collaborated with Tim Garland in a star studded nine-piece group ‘Momentum’, including amongst others John Patitucci, Joe Locke and Geoffrey Keezer. Momentum returned in Autumn 2010, culminating in a joint concerto for saxophones and percussion which was premiered by Neil, Tim and the LSO in Spring 2011.
Nicholas Ormrod was a pupil of James Blades and is a graduate of Surrey University. He has been a Principal Percussionist in the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden since 2004. Prior to this he worked as a free-lance player for over twenty years covering most aspects of the music industry. His orchestral experience includes performing with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Philharmonia, and the English Chamber Orchestra. In the theatre, Nicholas worked at the Royal National Theatre (Guys and Dolls, Candide, and the UK premiere of Sunday in the Park with George), the Royal Shakespeare Company (Happy End, Wizard of Oz) and in the West End (Carousel at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Oliver! at the London Palladium). He has a particular interest in authentic performance practice and has performed with many period instrument ensembles such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Kings Consort. In the studio Nicholas has worked on various films (The Russia House, Merchant of Venice) and numerous tv and radio jingles. He has held teaching positions at the Royal College of Music and at Dartington College. Nicholas is actively involved with the Percussive Arts Society (Board of Directors, International and Symphonic Committees) and is Chair of the National Association of Percussion Teachers UK.
Niel DePonte is the Principal Percussionist of the Oregon Symphony, a post to which he was appointed in 1977 at the age of 24. He has appeared with the Oregon Symphony, as well as other orchestras, as a marimba soloist, playing a varied repertoire including his own composition, Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra.
Niel was a 2003 Grammy Award nominee in the category of Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra for his performance of the Concerto for Marimba by Tomas Svoboda, with James DePreist and the Oregon Symphony on Albany Records. He appears on all of the orchestra’s recordings. He is a clinician for the Yamaha Corporation.
Niel is also the Music Director and Conductor for Oregon Ballet Theatre,. A published composer, his works have been performed by the Oregon Symphony, the Eastman Wind Ensemble and other ensembles throughout the United States. He has composed, arranged, and edited orchestral scores for use in ballet performance, including a full-length ballet score for Houston Ballet’s 2002 production of Peter Pan.
As President of MetroArts Inc, a non-profit arts education organization founded by Niel in 1993, he has done considerable research on the use of the arts for teaching cognitive strategies in the classroom and taught at Harvard University’s Project Zero Classroom summer seminar. Annually, he conducts the Young Artists Debut program in Portland, coaching young musicians in concerto repertoire on all instruments and voice, and runs the MetroArts Kids Camp program each July at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts.
Niel holds an MM in Performance and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the State University of New York.
Parker Lee was appointed Co-Principal Timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in May 2017. Additionally, he has served as guest timpanist with the National Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Chattanooga Symphony. Parker holds a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, where he studied primarily with John Tafoya. He completed his graduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Yancich. He also studied with Ted Atkatz at Lynn Conservatory, Jonathan Rance in Washington DC and most recently with Tom Freer at Cleveland State University since 2015.
Patricia Dash was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Sir Georg Solti in 1986, when she was just twenty-four. Born in Rochester, New York, she began her percussion studies at the age of nine. She received a diploma with honors and a certificate of merit from the Eastman School of Music’s Preparatory Department in 1979, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree with distinction from Eastman in 1983. Her teachers included John Beck, Ruth Cahn, Allen Otte, Richard Jensen, and Doug Howard. While in college, she performed as an extra with both the Rochester Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Symphony orchestras.
Patsy came to Chicago from the Philharmonic Orchestra of Florida, where she held the position of principal percussionist. She has since performed with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Pro Musica, the CSO Trombone Ensemble, the Ensemble Intercontemporain of Paris, and in numerous CSO chamber music concerts at Orchestra Hall. In 1995 she initiated a scholarship percussion program, sponsored by the CSO, for gifted young students in Chicago, which has performed extensively at Orchestra Hall, twice at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Conference.
She is married to fellow percussionist Doug Waddell, who is a member of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera Orchestra, who assists with the percussion ensembles. Their son, Ryan, is a member of MYA’s Voices Rising ensemble.
Since 1989, Paul has been a member of River City Brass, the only full time professional Brass Band in America. During those years The River City Brass has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe in addition to the subscription series in Western Pennsylvania.
For over eighteen years, Paul has been Artist Lecture of Percussion at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. During that time, his students have gained positions in Orchestras, Broadway, touring ensembles of all kinds, University Educators as well as leaders in the percussion design field.
Paul is also the percussionist for the P.B.S. “American Soundtrack” and the “My Music” series. With over 20 U.S. national shows to his credit, Paul has performed on P.B.S. with several hundred acts from the Do-Wop, 50's, 60's 70's, Soul, Disco, Country and Folk genres.
In addition to his position with the Indianapolis Symphony, Panamanian percussionist Pedro Fernández has been recently appointed to the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and has held similar titles with the Cincinnati Symphony and the Houston Ballet Orchestra. He has performed with the Houston, Hawaii, Columbus, Palm Beach, and New World Symphonies; the Louisville Orchestra, and the Florida Grand Opera. Internationally, Pedro has appeared with the National Symphony of Costa Rica as well as in solo and percussionist/timpanist roles with the National Symphony of Panama. Pedro has performed as a recitalist, chamber musician, and in orchestral settings across Latin America, the United States, Spain, China, and Japan.
Pedro holds degrees from University of Miami and Sam Houston State University. He also attended the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Aspen, Pacific, and Texas Music Festivals.
Peter Flamm is Principal Timpanist of the San Antonio Symphony. He has also held the title of Principal Timpanist with the Indianapolis Symphony, Charleston Symphony (SC) and the Canton Symphony. He has performed as guest timpanist with many orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony, and the National Symphony. Peter performed extensively with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, including tours to Chicago and New York, where he premiered the percussion part for Oswaldo Golijov's "She Was Here" with the SPCO and soprano Dawn Upshaw. In 2010, Peter performed as Guest Principal Timpanist with the Houston Symphony on their tour of the United Kingdom. Peter earned his BM and MM from the University of Michigan. His major teachers include Paul Yancich, Richard Weiner, Jack Moore, Charles Owen, and Michael Udow. He is currently teaching at Trinity University in San Antonio.
Peter Kates since 1994 has been the Principal Percussionist with the Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester, chairman of the Percussion Department of the Grieg Academy of Music at the University of Bergen and a member of the Nordic contemporary music ensemble BIT20. Mr. Kates received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University as a student of Jonathan Haas and Fred Begun and his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School of Music where he studied with Roland Kohloff and Elden Bailey. His formal training also includes studies with Arthur Press, Tom Gauger, Charles Smith, Christopher Lamb and Leigh Howard Stevens. He is also an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. In New York, Peter has performed and recorded with several noted ensembles such as Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Philharmonic Orchestra, Mostly Mozart, Live from Lincoln Center and the Music Today Series to name only a few. In Norway he has performed with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestras in both Stavanger and Trondheim. As an educator and clinician, Peter Kates has held classes in orchestral performance and chamber music in both Europe and the USA. In 2011 Peter presented Vibration, Response and Performance an Orchestral Cymbals Clinic at PASIC. His interest in education led him to be the founder of the Bergen Percussion Festival and the Virtual Music Technology Festival at the University of Bergen. Mr. Kates has served on the Symphonic Committee for The Percussive Arts Society and is a proud endorser of Zildjian Cymbals, Freer Percussion and Pearl concert percussion.
Richard Brown enjoys a multifaceted career as an educator, professional musician and a businessman. He is Professor of Percussion at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, as well as Principal Percussionist of both The Houston Grand Opera and Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestras. He leads the Richard Brown Orchestra, one of Houston’s most popular dance bands, that plays large social galas, special events and weddings.
Richard began his musical career at the age of 18 playing with The Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Lyric Opera. After his stint with The United States Army Band, in Washington DC, he moved to Houston to join The Houston Symphony, a position he held for 8 years. To pursue another facet of his musical interests he moved to New York City as a freelance percussionist working on Broadway, playing such shows as West Side Story, Showboat, and The Shirley MacLaine Concert Tour, as well as working in recording studios and subbing with The Metropolitan Opera and The New York Philharmonic. During that time, he also began working for Ann Margret performing with her for 15 years in all her live shows, both in Las Vegas and on tour.
In 1985 Richard returned to Houston when The Shepherd School appointed him as full time Professor of Percussion. He then began to play regularly with The Houston Symphony and appreciates the 12 years he spent working with Music Director Christoph Eschenbach. He became the personnel manager for The Grand Teton Music Festival and soon to follow for The Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. This led him to an interest in the business aspect of music and eventually he created Richard Brown Music, a company that hires musicians for most of Houston’s freelance concerts and several of the area’s prominent churches. He is proud to say that in any given year he offers over 2000 employment opportunities to Houston’s professional musicians.
The variety of all these activities keeps Richard busy, but he always finds time to be a mentor and available to his students who come to the Shepherd School to study and prepare for careers as professional percussionists.
Richard Weiner is the former Principal Percussionist of The Cleveland Orchestra. Hired by George Szell in 1963, he was appointed principal in 1968 where he led the section for 43 years. In 2011 he received The Cleveland Orchestra Distinguished Service Award presented yearly to a person or persons to recognize extraordinary service to The Cleveland Orchestra. Since his retirement in 2011, Richard continues to occasionally perform with the orchestra and remains an active faculty member at The Cleveland Institute of Music a position he has held since 1963. Richard received a B.S. in Education from Temple University in 1962, a Masters in Music with Distinction from Indiana University in 1963, and was the first percussionist to be honored with the Performer's Certificate Award. He also holds a Juris Doctor in Law magna cum laude from Cleveland State University. Former teachers include Charles Owen (Temple University), The Philadelphia Orchestra principal percussionist and George Gaber (Indiana University), renowned New York Timpanist/Percussionist.
In 1962, Richard was a scholarship student at the Aspen Festival School and a member of the Aspen Festival Orchestra where he played solo xylophone in the American premires of Olivier Messiaen's Oixeaux Exotiques, and Reveil des Oiseaux with Messiaen in attendance for a Conference on Contemporary Music. He was a member of the Chautauqua Summer Symphony in 1964 and has been on faculty at Oberlin College. As a percussion clinician, Richard has presented symphonic percussion clinics and labs at the Percussion Arts Society International Convention and is a faculty artist in residence at The National Orchestral Institute at The University of Maryland. Additionally, he has been a seminar participant and coach at The New World Symphony, and editor and contributing editor of the PAS Symphonic Percussion column in Percussive Notes. Richard can be heard on many acclaimed recordings with Maestros George Szell, Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Robert Shaw, Christoph von Dohn nyi, Franz Welser Möst, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Riccardo Chailly, as well serving as principal percussionist on three heralded Telarc recordings of The Cleveland Symphonic Winds conducted by Frederick Fennell. He has recorded most of Olivier Messiaen's orchestral works, Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and L'Histoire du Soldat with Pierre Boulez, as well as performing on over 175 recordings.
Richard has also participated in over 100 world and U.S. premires and has performed in concert with George Szell, Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohn nyi, Franz Welser Möst, Robert Shaw, James Levine, Jahya Ling, Claudio Abbato, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Chailly, Andrew Davis, Colin Davis, Antal Dorati, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Bernard Haitink, Herbert von Karajan, Erich Leinsdorf, Yoel Levi, Kurt Masur, Eugene Ormandy, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, Simon Rattle, Leonard Slatkin, George Solti, Michael Tilson-Thomas, John Adams, Arthur Fiedler, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Henry Mancini and John Williams among many others. Concert tours with the Cleveland Orchestra have taken him to the Soviet Union, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Scandinavia, as well as South and Central America. Former students play or have played in symphony orchestras such as Cleveland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the National, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Santa Fe Opera, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand and Europe, as well as the Hollywood studios, Broadway and contemporary percussion ensembles such as The Percussion Group, Nexus and Steve Reich Ensemble.
Robert Slack joined Pacific Symphony's percussion section in 1990, and became
the principal percussionist in 1992. In addition to his work with Pacific Symphony,
he has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony,
the Long Beach Symphony, and in the orchestra of countless ballet companies and
Broadway shows, including "Evita," "Fosse," and others. Previous to his position
with Pacific Symphony, Slack held positions as timpanist with the Nassau
Symphony on Long Island and Assistant Principal Timpanist/Percussionist with the
Naples, Florida Philharmonic. Slack received a Bachelor of Music Degree from the
Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, the nation's premier music conservatory.
While at Curtis, Slack studied with Gerald Carlyss, principal timpanist of the
Philadelphia Orchestra, and Michael Bookspan, principal percussionist of the
Philadelphia Orchestra. Slack received an orchestral fellowship at the Tanglewood
Music Center, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in 1989. He also
performed and studied with Roland Kohlof, former Principal Timpanist of the New
York Philharmonic, at the Waterloo Festival in New Jersey. During high school,
Slack attended the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College Division, and studied
extensively with New York Philharmonic Principal Percussionist Christopher Lamb
at the SUNY, Purchase. Highly sought after as a teacher, Slack has had many of his
students placed in major music conservatories and universities such as the
Juilliard School, Indiana University, University of California, Los Angeles, the
University of Southern California School of Music, and others. Several of his
students have earned positions in professional orchestras. He has held teaching
positions at Fullerton College, California State University, Fullerton, and Chapman
University. Currently, Slack maintains a private teaching studio in Orange County.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Robert Klieger has been a member of the West Virginia Symphony and the Canton Symphony. For the 2009-2011 seasons, he held a fellowship with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas where he performed both in the orchestra and as a soloist. He has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.
In 2008 he was invited to perform with the Cleveland Orchestra on tour in Salzburg and Lucerne. Robert holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Southern Methodist University, where he studied with Douglas Howard and Kalman Cherry. He completed post graduate work at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he was a student of Richard Weiner and Paul Yancich. He has attended various summer festivals including: the Aspen Music Festival, the Verbier Festival, (Switzerland), and the Center for World Music Workshop and Festival in Bali, Indonesia. This season Robert also joins the Santa Fe Opera orchestra as principal percussionist.
In addition to performing, Robert enjoys hiking, traveling, and discovering local cuisine.
SAM BACCO is currently the Principal Percussionist and Assistant Timpanist for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. During his tenure, the Orchestra has created 30 internationally distributed CDs, received 17 GRAMMY nominations and won 8 Grammy awards. Prior to his appointment in Nashville, he served as the Principal Timpanist of the “Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico” in Mexico City.
As an educator, he’s been on the faculty of the prestigious “National School of Music” in Mexico City (founded by Carlos Chavez)and Belmont University in Nashville.
As a first-call studio musician, he has performed and collaborated on hundreds of award winning recording projects, including television and motion picture soundtracks in the Pop, Rock, Country, Bluegrass, Orchestral and Contemporary Christian fields with a diverse group of artists including Garth Brooks, Neil Diamond, Sheryl Crow, Amy Grant, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood, J D Souther, Jill Sobule, Acoustic Alchemy, New Grass Revival, Mark O’Conner, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Winwood, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart and numerous others.
In addition to his performing, teaching and recording experiences, Sam is among the world’s foremost experts on the history and manufacturing of percussion instruments. Internationally respected as a designer, builder and restorer of percussion instruments and accessories, he has decades of experience consulting, designing and developing products for many of the major brands in the percussion industry. His custom built products and museum quality restorations are found in the collections of the most prominent musicians and institutions on the planet.
Sam’s personal collection houses well over 1000 unique and historical percussion instruments, books, catalogs and sound effects from around the world.
Scott is currently the assistant principal percussionist and assistant timpanist with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in South Korea. He was born and raised outside of South Bend, IN where he began studying percussion at the age of 10. Previously, he was member of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic from 2012-2016, first starting as a section percussionist and then moving to the principal position in 2014.
Scott earned his Bachelor of Music in performance from The University of Michigan where he studied with Michael Udow, Brian Jones, Ian Ding, and Joseph Gramley. He also attended Temple University where he studied with Alan Abel and Chris Deviney. His other teachers have included David Herbert, Doug Howard, Murray Weaver, and Eddie Knight. As a soloist, he has performed with the South Bend Symphony after being named the winner of their Young Artist Competition in 2007.
Scott has been a music fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and has also spent summers at the Pacific and Aspen music festivals. In his spare time, Scott enjoys hiking, running, and table tennis.
Shane Nickels is a percussionist specializing in rudimental and orchestral percussion. He currently serves in The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps as a snare drum instrumentalist. Before his service, Shane also performed in DCI and other professional groups including The Bluecoats, The Troopers, and the Kansas City Chiefs drumline. As an educator, Shane was the battery instructor for The University of Kansas Marching Jayhawks for two years and has given numerous clinics to private studios, high schools, and colleges throughout the country.
In addition to rudimental percussion, Shane is an orchestral percussionist having performed with the Debut Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, and the Mariinsky Orchestra. He was also a fellow at Music Academy of the West studying under Mike Werner and Ted Atkatz as well as playing at the Tanglewood Music Festival.
Shane received an Undergraduate and Masters Degree at the University of Kansas under Kevin Bobo and Ji Hye Jung. Nickels then went on to receive an Artist Diploma at the University of Southern California under Jim Babor and Joe Pereira of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Shannon Wood was named Principal Timpanist of the St. Louis Symphony in 2013 after an unprecedented year being offered a position with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and trials with the Baltimore and Singapore Symphony. During the summer he serves as Principal Timpanist of the Mozaic Festival in San Luis Obispo, CA. Shannon has previously held Principal Timpani positions with the Grand Rapids Symphony and Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.
Shannon received a Bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Michigan as a Charlie Owen Scholarship recipient studying under Michael Udow, former Principal Percussionist of the Santa Fe Opera, and Salvatore Rabbio, former Principal Timpanist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He received a Master’s of Music in Percussion Performance from Temple University studying with Alan Abel, former Associate Principal Percussion of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He continued Timpani Performance study with Tom Freer, Percussionist and Assistant Principal Timpanist of the Cleveland Orchestra. Shannon is a New World Symphony fellow alumnus where he focused on orchestral studies under the musical direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, currently Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony.
As an orchestral and chamber musician he has toured extensively throughout Europe, New Zealand, South America, Asia and the United States and has performed with the Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Auckland Philharmonic in New Zealand, and Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy.
Shannon has served on the faculty of the University of Miami and Interlochen Arts Centre and his summer engagements have included the Aspen, Colorado Music Festival, Grand Tetons, Spoleto USA/Italy, Tanglewood and GRAZ.
In 2003 Shannon premiered a Timpani Concerto written for him by composer Ney Rosauro, available on Cane Records. Also in 2010 Shannon filmed two instructional DVDs for Alfred Music Publishing Company’s education project titled Sound Innovations. In 2007 Shannon won first prize in Florida’s Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest. In 2011 & 2012 the Grand Rapids Symphony commissioned him for an orchestral work. The 2012 commission, Concerto for Section Percussion, won 1st place in the classical music genre at ArtPrize. A commission by the Erie Chamber Orchestra, Concerto for Solo Percussion and Chamber Orchestra, was premiered in September 2013. His chamber work, Oort Cloud, for Solo Percussion and others (8 players) featuring Mr. Wood as soloist, was performed at Powell Hall in 2015 conducted by David Robertson, Music Director of St. Louis Symphony. In 2015 he was commissioned by the Saint Louis Symphony Community Partnership Program to write a quartet for english horn, cello, piano and timpani titled Abballanu Cifalutani, which premiered in September 2015.
Shannon owns and operates malletshop.com, a source for vintage mallet percussion instruments and timpani. Shannon is endorsed by Zildjian, Remo, Freer Percussion and is a member of BMI.
Shaun Trubiano joined the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra as Principal Percussion in December 2011. Previously, he was a Fellow with the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami performing with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. He attended Manhattan School of Music (MSM) where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Orchestral Performance (OP) as a named scholar of the Henry Nias Foundation. Whilst studying in the OP program, Shaun was under the distinguished tutelage of Metropolitan Opera Principal Timpani Duncan Patton and New York Philharmonic Principal Percussion Christopher Lamb. Further studies concluded in 2011 with a postgraduate certificate in Orchestral Percussion from MSM as the Berkman Rahm Scholar.
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Shaun performed with the Australian Youth Orchestra and in 1998 toured Europe with the Geminiani Orchestra. He has performed frequently with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Huntsville Symphony Orchestra and performed at Concertgebouw Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House.
Shaun is a proudly endorsed artist of Zildjian cymbals and Freer Percussion.
Stephen Kehner is Acting Section Percussion with the Utah Symphony, a position he begins in September 2018. Before that, he was a percussion fellow at the New World Symphony for three years, and also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Boston Philharmonic, and Tallahassee Symphony. He has spent his summers at the Tanglewood Music Center, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Music Academy of the West, Texas Music Festival, and National Orchestral Institute. He completed graduate school at the New England Conservatory, where he earned a Master of Music degree and Graduate Diploma while studying with Boston Symphony percussionists Will Hudgins and Dan Bauch. Stephen completed his Bachelor of Music degree at Florida State University, where he studied with Dr. John Parks. He has given masterclasses at the North Georgia Percussion Camp, Atlanta Percussion Symposium, Tallahassee Youth Orchestras, and the Iberacademy in Colombia, and he proudly endorses Freer Percussion Products. Stephen grew up in Marietta, GA, where he studied with Charles Settle in high school.
Assistant principal timpani/section percussion with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Steve Hearn is also the principal timpanist of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and a founding member of the Lumos Percussion Group. He has appeared with the Strings in the Mountains, Grand Teton, and Cabrillo music festivals and has been a featured concerto soloist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, among others. He has performed at several Percussive Arts Society International Conventions as a featured soloist and chamber musician. Similarly, he was a percussionist in the Colorado premier of Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun’s Water Passion after S. Matthew.
Hearn previously held the position as Percussionist/Timpanist in the U.S. Army Field Band, Washington, D.C. were he toured the 48 continental states performing concerts with the Concert Band and Chorus. As an orchestral musician, he served as principal timpanist during the Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s national tour with Amy Grant/Vince Gil and has appeared as principal timpanist of the Kamerorkest “Continuo” Rotterdam, Holland, the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, and the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared as principal percussionist with the European Mozart Festival Orchestra in Krakow, Poland, and as a percussionist with the Dutch Theater Production of The West Side Story. Similarly, he has performed with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of Santa Fe. In addition, he worked in the Music Business Industry where he served for seven years as the Concert/Adams Percussion Marketing Manager at Pearl Drum Corporation.
Active as an educator, chamber musician and drum set specialist, he was the assistant to Robert van Sice at Rotterdam’s Conservatory of Music and was the Director of Percussion Studies at New Mexico State University. He has performed recitals and chamber music in Holland, Belgium, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. as well as given master classes in nearly all 50 states. As a drum set specialist, he has performed various styles of jazz and rock throughout the Chicago area with the Ramesdell Jazz Quintet and the pop/rock group The Others.
Hearn received a Bachelor of Music degree in Percussion Performance from the University of New Mexico, a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from New Mexico State University, and the prestigious Artist Performing Diploma from Rotterdam’s Conservatory, The Netherlands.
Hearn is an active artist/educator for Adams Musical Instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, Freer Percussion Products, and Evans Drumheads. www.hearndrum.com
Timothy Adams Jr was named Chair of the Percussion Department at the University of Georgia in the fall of 2010. Prior to coming to UGA, Mr. Adams was Principal Timpanist of the Pittsburgh Symphony for fifteen years, Indianapolis Symphony for four years, Florida Philharmonic for four years, and the Canton Symphony for five years. He was also Principal Percussion at the Eastern Music Festival for two summers, Timpanist/Percussionist at the Brevard Music Center for ten years, Extra Percussion/Timpani/Keyboard with the Cleveland Orchestra for two years, and Extra Percussion/Timpani with the Atlanta Symphony for five years starting at the age of seventeen.
After attending the Cleveland Institute of Music where he received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees, Mr. Adams played in a rock band called the Exotic Birds. The band recorded two records and appeared on MTV and VH1 on regular rotation. In addition, Mr. Adams was featured on the award winning children's television show,"Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." He demonstrated various percussion instruments in an episode titled "Noisy and Quiet." Mr. Adams played on two movie soundtracks, The Caveman's Valentine featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Miracle at St.Anna, a film directed by Spike Lee. Both film scores were composed by Grammy Award winning jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard. Mr. Adams attended the Tanglewood Music Festival for two summers where he performed under the batons of Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Elliott Carter, Trevor Pennick, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson Thomas, and John Williams. Mr. Adams has soloed with the Atlanta Symphony, Florida Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Asheville Symphony, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony.
In 2008, Mr. Adams premiered a concerto that he composed for Percussion and Violin with the Pittsburgh Symphony with Andres Cardenes as violin soloist. Mr. Adams has played in most of the major concert halls in Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, China, and Malaysia. He has also performed under the batons of Lorin Maazel, Pierre Boulez, Manfred Honeck, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Robert Shaw, Sir Andre Previn, Sir Neville Marriner, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Raymond Leppard, Mariss Jansons, John Williams, Charles Dutoit, and Marvin Hamlisch. Mr. Adams has performed with such notable soloists as Luciano Pavarotti, Jessye Norman, Andre Watts, Yo Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, Emanuel Ax, Lynn Harrell, Lang Lang, Midori, Pinchas Zukerman, Patti Austin, Chaka Kahn, Della Reese, Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby McFerrin, Terence Blanchard, Brice Winston, Dave Brubeck, Marcus Roberts and Burt Bacharach. Mr. Adams' major teachers were Timothy Adams Sr., Clarence Daniels, William Wilder, Paul Yancich, Cloyd Duff, and Richard Weiner. He has been coached by Jim Chapin, Joe Morello, Buster Bailey, William Platt, Eugene Espino, Peter Erskine, and Will Kennedy. Mr. Adams was born and raised in Covington, Ga.
Tom Sherwood is the Principal Percussionist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. A native of Fairfax, Virginia, his musical career began at a young age when he discovered his father's old drum set packed away in the garage. He graduated with his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. A student of Tom Siwe, he was the youngest recipient of the Edgard Varese Memorial Scholarship. He went on to earn his Master of Music from Temple University, where he studied with Alan Abel (former Associate Principal Percussionist of the Philadelphia Orchestra). Tom made his solo debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in the 2004-2005 season, performing Tan Dun's Concerto for Water Percussion and Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Robert Spano. For the past 8 years, Tom has also been regularly performing at the Grand Teton Music Festival. He can be heard with the ASO on Telarc and Deutsche Grammophon recordings.
In addition to his work with the orchestra, Tom is also the Artistic Director and percussionist for Sonic Generator, a contemporary chamber ensemble specializing in the performance of electro acoustic music.
Since 2008, Tom has been the director of the Modern Snare Drum Competition. An annual event hosted by the ASO, this unique competition attracts students from all over the country and has led to the creation of almost a dozen new works for the snare drum.
Prior to joining the ASO, he was a member of the prestigious New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. An active teacher and clinician, Tom has presented master classes at Oberlin Conservatory, Columbus State University and the Northwestern Percussion Symposium, as well as the 2001 and 2003 Percussive Arts Society International Conventions. Tom is an endorser of Pearl Drums, Adams Musical Instruments, Freer Percussion, and Zildjian.
Wade Culbreath was appointed principal timpanist-percussionist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in 2009. As soloist with the orchestra, he performed the Sejourne “Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra,” and was praised for his “virtuosity and jazzy flair” (Los Angeles Times) and “dazzling technique.” (American Record Guide)
A much sought-after musician in Los Angeles, Culbreath holds the position of principal percussion with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and principal timpani with the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra. With the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, he participated in two tours of Europe, eight recordings on the Sony Classical and Deutsche Grammaphon labels, and the PBS Great Performances broadcast celebrating the music of John Williams.
He appears on two Steve Reich world-premiere recordings, “You Are (Variations)” and “Daniel Variations” on the Nonesuch label, and on hundreds of motion picture soundtracks for the Hollywood film studios including the Oscar winning scores for Aladdin, Life of Pi, and La La Land.
Wade Culbreath studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree and the Performer’s Certificate.
Ya-Chi Cheng has enjoyed a successful career as an orchestral musician. She was Principal Percussionist and Assistant Timpanist of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and percussionist of the New World Symphony in Miami led by acclaimed conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. Other orchestras she worked with include Detroit Symphony, Grand Rapid Symphony, Toledo Symphony, and National Symphony of Taiwan. After her return to her hometown Taipei in 2010, she has served as Principal Timpanist of Evergreen Symphony Orchestra, one of the most prestigious orchestras in Taiwan. Ya-Chi's performances can be heard on the Equilibrium and CPO labels.
Ya-Chi is also a dedicated educator. She is currently Assistant Professor in Percussion at University of Taipei and Fu-Jen Catholic University. She also teaches at New Taipei Hsin-Tien High School Music Program and coaches the percussion section of the Evergreen Summer Music Academy.
Ya-Chi received her DMA and MM degree at University of Michigan. Her major teachers include Michael Udow of the University of Michigan, Brian Jones of the Dallas Symphony, and Tom Freer of the Cleveland Orchestra.