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.