The University of Michigan Percussion program is one of the longest active and most successful percussion programs in the country. With over 60 years of history, the program has featured some of the field’s most outstanding artist-teachers and our alumni continue to achieve success in all areas of the percussion world.
Percussion students at Michigan study and perform a broad range of instruments including: multi-percussion, mallet keyboards, snare drum, timpani, orchestral percussion, world percussion, and drum set, through solo repertoire, chamber repertoire and large-ensemble playing.
While the program offers a broad, comprehensive approach, we work to help each student discover their own unique artistic voice and encourage individual areas of interest and research. We are committed to supporting a curriculum which will help each of our students attain their individual professional goals.
In addition to a wide variety of performing experiences, at Michigan there are numerous ways to gain valuable expertise in the areas of pedagogy, composition & arranging, audio & video editing, as well as marketing and entrepreneurship. We encourage these pursuits and feel strongly that these skills, combined with a broad-based percussion education, are critical to succeeding as a 21st-century musician.
In the fall of 2015, the University of Michigan percussion program embarked on a new chapter in its storied history with the occupation of the percussion suite in the new Brehm Pavillion. The percussion suite features twelve state-of-the-art acoustically isolated practice rooms, along with additional dedicated teaching studios, all with wide, 44" doors. Additional spaces include a new acoustically-flexible large ensemble rehearsal space, a chamber music/percussion ensemble rehearsal room, dedicated storage/locker space for personal gear, as well as two large, dedicated multi percussion spaces where students can leave their set-ups intact for the duration of learning and performing a work. All practice rooms and teaching studios are also clustered together in close proximity to enhance the sense of community among percussionists.
The University of Michigan Percussion Program enjoys the use of one of the largest and finest inventories of percussion instruments in the country. For more information about equipment, please click here.
From university professors, to public school educators, to members of symphony orchestras, to pop and jazz recording 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 active participants in summer festivals, including: Aspen, So Percussion Summer Institute (SoSi), Chosen Vale, June in Buffalo, Fresh Inc., SICPP, Texas Music Festival, Zeltsman Marimba Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Tanglewood, Spoleto-Italy, Spoleto-Charleston, Idyllwild, Roots-n-Rhizomes, Graz-Austria, the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, Bowdoin, and Nief-Norf.
U-M Percussion graduates have achieved consistent success in securing fellowships and assistantships at many leading graduate schools and conservatories including: Peabody Conservatory, The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, Temple University, New England Conservatory, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin, Stonybrook University, 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, in addition to numerous dance and theater companies. Many of these UMS visiting ensembles/artists are often invited to work with our students in the percussion program. These 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, Museum of Contemporary Art - Detroit (MoCAD) 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, The Bad Plus, Joshua Redman, Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett, among others.
Julian Bridges - Atlanta, GA
Conner Darling - The Woodlands, TX
Anthony Demartinis - Woodstock, IL
Chris Floyd - Marietta, GA
Laura Grems - Vienna, VA
Andrew Grossman - Miami, FL
Shane Jones - Las Vegas, NV
Benjy Krauss - Fairfield, CT
Chase Lancaster - Calabasas, CA
Ian Lang - Baldwinsville, NY
Colin McCall - Knoxville, TN
Patterson McKinney - East Grand Rapids, MI
David Newton - Durham, NC
Riley Palmer - Sioux Falls, SD
August Pappas - Chelsea, MI
Nicole Patrick - Miami, FL
Eric Peterson - Verona, WI
Jacob Rogers - Atlanta, GA
Karl Ronneburg - Sammamish, WA
Evan Saddler - Dubuque, IA
Mackenzie Sato - Granite Bay, CA
Jonathan Smith - Haslett, MI
Trevor Sooy - Zeeland, MI
Tanner Tanyeri - Madison, WI
Chelsea Tinsler - Las Vegas, NV
Casey Voss - Grand Rapids, MI
T.J. Troy (BM 1998) *WINNER* of a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Compendium.
Colin McCall (MM) *WINNER* of the 2015 Atlanta Modern Snare Drum Competition
Nicole Patrick (BM) *WINNER* of the 2015 Black Swamp Multi Percussion Competition
Dan Karas (MM 2009) Named Principal Timpanist of the Grant Park Orchestra and named Principal Timpanist of the Grand Rapids Symphony.
Christina Manceor (BM 2015) recipient of the PAS Armand Zildjian Scholarship
Conner Darling (BM) recipient of the PAS Fred Hoey Memorial Scholarship
Evan Saddler (BM) *WINNER* of the 2014 Kerope Zildjian Scholarship Competition.
Ian Sullivan (BM 2010) named Principal Timpanist of the New York City Ballet.
Scott Verduin (BM 2011) named Principal Percussion of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic
Neeraj Mehta (DMA 2010) named Assistant Professor of Music at Queensboro Community College.
David Newton (BM) *FINALIST* in the 2014 Atlanta Symphony Modern Snare Drum Competition.
Dan Piccolo (DMA 2015) named Percussion Professor at the University of Tennessee-Martin - 2015
Matthew Geiger (MM 2014) *WINNER* of the Percussive Arts Society Solo Vibraphone Competition - 2013.
Shannon Wood (BM 1989) named Principal Timpanist of the St. Louis Symphony
Gary Donald (MM 2014) *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.
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