The University of Michigan Percussion program is one of the longest active and most successful percussion programs in the country. With over 50 years of history, our faculty have included some of the field’s most outstanding teachers and our alumni continue to achieve success in all areas of the percussion world.
Percussion students enjoy studying a wide range of focused areas including: mallet keyboards, multi-percussion, snare drum, timpani, orchestral percussion, world percussion, drum set, solo repertoire and chamber repertoire. We work to help students find their own artistic voice and support areas of interest which are motivating to them, while also maintaining a broad, comprehensive approach. In addition to a wide range of performance skills, we feel it is equally important to concurrently gain expertise in the areas of pedagogy, composition & arranging, audio & video editing, as well as marketing and entrepreneurship. We feel these skills, combined with a broad-based percussion education, are critical to succeeding in the 21st-century marketplace. We are committed to supporting a curriculum which will help each of our students attain their professional goals.
Housed in the Earl V. Moore building, the percussion program has an extensive collection of world-class instruments and our facilities offer percussionists 12 dedicated practice rooms as well as additional storage. As part of the Moore building expansion and renovation project, a brand-new percussion facility is in the works and is slated to open in the fall of 2015. This new, one-of-a-kind facility, will feature new faculty teaching studios, new practice rooms, percussion ensemble rehearsal space, and storage/locker space. Adjacent to the new percussion facilities, we will also have a large new rehearsal hall as well as additional classroom space.
The U-M Percussion Program features outstanding artist-faculty members that are all active as performers and committed to teaching. All percussion students have opportunities to study with various combinations of teachers during their undergraduate or graduate residency thus combining a variety of musical perspectives, approaches, and concepts into one integrated percussive foundation. One unique feature of our program is that no undergraduates study with graduate students. All undergraduates are assigned to a major professor during their entire 4-year residency. For more information about lessons, please see our FAQs page.
From university professors, to public school educators, to members of symphony orchestras, to leading pop and jazz artists, and virtually everything in between, U-M percussion alumni can be found in every area of the percussion world. U-M percussion students are also active participants in summer festivals, including: Aspen, So Percussion Summer Institute (SoSi), Chosen Vale, June in Buffalo, Fresh Inc., National Repertory Orchestra, Tanglewood, Spoleto-Italy, Spoleto-Charleston, Idyllwild, Graz-Austria, the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, Bowdoin, and Nief-Norf. U-M Percussion graduates have also achieved consistent success in securing fellowships and assistantships at many leading graduate schools and conservatories including: The Juilliard School, Indiana University, Temple University, New England Conservatory, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin, Stonybrook, University of Miami, among others.
Ann Arbor is consistently ranked as one of the best cities in America offering big city culture and urban amenities in a student-friendly, campus-oriented college town. Ann Arbor is also the home to the University Musical Society, which brings numerous world-class artists and performers to campus every year. Recent concerts in Ann Arbor have included: Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony (4 day residency), So Percussion, KODO Drummers, Jack Dejohnette, Wynton Marsalis/ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Amhad Jamal, and Danilo Perez, to name a few. Many of these UMS visiting ensembles/artists are often invited to work with our students in the percussion program. These frequent guest artist visits provide students with a unique opportunity to directly connect with successful percussion professionals in clinics/masterclasses, private/group lessons, and guest soloist appearances.
Ann Arbor's proximity to Detroit (45min) also allows students frequent opportunities to see the world-class Detroit Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, as well as opportunities to take advantage of the rich cultural scene in Detroit, including the Detroit Institute of the Arts and the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival in the country which takes place over 4 days during the Labor Day weekend every year. Recent jazz festival performers have included: Jon Scofield, The Yellowjackets, Sonny Rollins, Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Terrance Blanchard, Poncho Sanchez, Bill Stewart, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett, and more.
Andrew Bahle - Suttons Bay, MI
Julian Bridges - Atlanta, GA
Anthony Demartinis - Woodstock, IL
Gary Donald - Orlando, FL
Tom Erickson - Fargo, ND
Matthew Geiger - Indianapolis, IN
Dylan Greene - Vashon Island, WA
Laura Grems - Vienna, VA
Shea Holman - Dexter, MI
Benjy Krauss - Fairfield, CT
Chase Lancaster - Calabasas, CA
Evan Laybourn - Novi, MI
Darren Lin - Hershey, PA
Christina Manceor - Troy, MI
Patterson McKinney - East Grand Rapids, MI
David Newton - Durham, NC
August Pappas - Chelsea, MI
Nicole Patrick - Miami, FL
Dan Piccolo - Rochester, NY
Karl Ronneburg - Sammamish, WA
Evan Saddler - Dubuque, IA
Mackenzie Sato - Granite Bay, CA
Jonathan Smith - Haslett, MI
Chris Sies - Manchester, MD
Arlo Shultis - Alton, IL
E. Ross Ura - Royal Oak, MI
Hannah Weaver - Brownsburg, IN
Ye Young Yoon - Seoul, Korea
Matthew Geiger (MM) was named *WINNER* of the Percussive Arts Society Solo Vibraphone Competition - 2013.
Hannah Weaver (MM) was named *WINNER* of the Percussive Arts Society Orchestral Mock Audition - 2013.
Shannon Wood (BM 1989) was named Principal Timpanist of the St. Louis Symphony
Dan Karas (MM 2009) was named Principal Timpanist of the Grand Rapids Symphony
Dave Alcorn (BM 2009) was named Professor of Percussion at Casper College (WY)
Neeraj Mehta (DMA 2010) was named Professor of Percussion at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Gary Donald (MM) was named *WINNER* of three orchestral job openings: Percussionist with the West Michigan Symphony, Principal Percussionist of the Jackson (MI) Symphony, and Percussionist with the Ann Arbor Symphony - 2013.
Christina Manceor (BM) *WINNER* of the Black Swamp Percussion First Annual Solo Percussion Competition - 2013
Payton MacDonald (BFA Jazz 1997) was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for a year of study in India - 2013
Jon Brown (MM 2013) and Chris Sies (BM 2013) were selected to participate in the 21st Century American Contemporary Ensemble at Carnegie Hall - 2013
Garrett Mendelow (BM 2012) was awarded *SECOND PLACE* in the 2012 TROMP percussion competition. The only American percussionist in the finals.
Julian Bridges (BM) - *WINNER* of the 2012 Atlanta Symphony Modern Snare Drum Competition (Division II) also accepted for a semester of study abroad at the Paris Conservatory.
Kyle Acuncius (Specialist, 2012) was named to the faculty of Mahidol University in Thailand as well as named timpanist with the Thailand Philharmonic.
Scott Verdiun (BM 2011) was named Section Percussionist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic - March 2012
Xavier Verna (BM 2011) - awarded *SECOND PLACE* (Division I) in the 2012 Atlanta Symphony Modern Snare Drum Competition
Sam Livingston (BM 2011) was named Coordinator of Education for the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute.
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