Percussion Department


Student News

Fall 2012

Mike Mixtacki

Jacobs School of Music alumnus Michael Mixtacki will be joining the faculty of the Northern Illinois University School of Music for a one-year, full-time appointment as Instructor of Percussion.  Michael graduated from IU in 2011 with his Master’s degree in percussion performance.  He served as an Associate Instructor in the percussion department and helped co-direct the Afro-Cuban and Brazilian percussion ensembles with Professor Michael Spiro. 

Ross Erickson

IU JSOM student Ross Erickson (BM 2010, MM 2012) has recently been named Principal Percussion with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and Instructor of Percussion at the University of Evansville (Evansville, IN).

Kyle Acuncius

Kyle Acuncius (MM 2010) has recently accepted a position as Artist/Instructor of Percussion at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand and Principal Timpanist in the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. The College of Music at Mahidol University is the first music conservatory in Thailand to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in numerous areas of music. The school includes 120 full time and 100 part time faculty with a support staff of 150. There are approximately 1,200 students, including pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate students.

Michael D'Angelo

Michael D’Angelo (MM – Jazz Studies 2012) was recently awarded the position of Lecturer in Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina (Wilmington).  D’Angelo will be teaching drum set students, jazz history, ensembles, and a rhythm section techniques course.  While at IU, Michael studied with Professor Steve Houghton, Michael Spiro, and Kevin Bobo.

Marimba soloists make Final Round at International Percussion Convention
IU students Marco Schirripa and Sean Gill have been selected to perform in the Final Round of the 2012 PASIC International Marimba Competition which will take place in Austin, Texas in November 2012.

A Special Thank you to Stuart Chafetz!

Stuart Chafetz

Former principal timpanist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra and orchestral conductor, Stuart Chafetz presented a very informative and practical masterclass on orchestral timpani on March 7, 2012.  Stuart is also here at the IU JSOM to conduct the upcoming ballet series, Sleeping Beauty.

IU Percussionists Featured at PAS Rhythm! Discovery Center in Indianapolis

IU at PAS Museum

IU Jacobs School of Music percussionists were featured in two concerts at the Percussive Arts Society's Rhythm! Discovery Center in Indianapolis on Saturday, December 3, 2011.  The program included jazz, keyboard percussion, world percussion, solo snare drum, and chamber music.

Special Thank You to Tony Cirone!
Tony Cirone

On Tuesday, November 8, Tony Cirone presented an interesting class based on his informative new book: The Great American Symphony Orchestra.

Special Thanks to Mr. Gerald Carlyss!

Gerald Carlyss Photo

Gerald Carlyss, former principal timpanist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and chair/professor of percussion at the IU Jacobs School of Music, presented an orchestral timpani masterclass on Wednesday, October 12.  Several students had the opportunity to perform and Mr. Carlyss also talked about his years with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Eugene Ormandy.

Student Spotlight:  Mitch Shiner

Professor Houghton and Mitch Shiner

Mitch Shiner, sophomore, was selected to perform in the 2011 Disneyland All-American College Band (presented by Yamaha). Disney conducted a nationwide talent search in February, auditioning over five hundred students. Band Director Dr. Ron McCurdy invited twenty-one musicians to participate in this eleven week summer program which consisted of masterclasses and clinics with Jazz greats and studio legends, a recording session at Warner Brothers Studios, and tons of performance. Shiner studies under College Band alum, Professor Steve Houghton.

IU Jacobs School of Music Percussion Majors were Busy this Summer!

Many of our percussion majors were busy performing in summer festivals and participating in other interesting events. 

Emily Backal NYU Percussion Broadway Seminar: a study of the skills, experience, and know-how into the world of Broadway percussion

Evan Chapman served as percussion teacher and overnight camp counselor at Young People's Summer Stock in Owing Mills, Maryland.

Bobby Conselatore received a full fellowship to attend the National Music Festival in Floyd, Virginia this June.  In July he attended the Center for Advanced Musical Studies at Chosen Vale's debut Percussion Seminar with faculty to include Dan Druckman, Colin Curie, and Steve Reich among others.

Arianna Fanning accepted a summer internship position at Pearl Drums in Nashville, working in the Marketing Department in June and July.  

Reuben Gingrich performed with his group The Main Squeeze at Summer Camp Music Festival and Equifunk Music Festival.   He also attended the Steans Music Institute as part of the Ravinia Summer Festival.

Parker Lee participated in the National Orchestral Institute in College Park, Maryland.

Bailey Petersma taught private percussion lessons this summer along with serving as a counselor for the IU Summer Music Clinic and IU Summer Percussion Academy.

Erich Rieppel participated in the Aspen Music Festival this summer and was featured in summer performances at church/restaurant venues for both solo and ensemble performances (with his band, "The Rieppel Effect").

Mitch Shiner performed in the 2011 Disneyland Resort All American College Band in Anaheim, CA.  The band,  directed by Dr. Ron McCurdy, Chair of the Jazz Department at USC,  plays four showband marching sets per day and one big band show per day, five days a week. The band performed from May 27th until August 15th.

Nick Taylor was named the Winner (first place) in the Atlanta Snare Drum Competition and taught the drumline at the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps from Santa Clara, CA.

Special Thanks To Braham Dembar!

Braham Dembar

Braham Dembar, principal percussionist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, presented an informative masterclass covering many of the "accessory" instruments on Wednesday, September 7.

IU Steel Pan Concert performs for a full audience in Sweeney Hall

IU Steel Pan Ensemble

The IU Steel Pan Ensemble, under the direction of Brian Mueller (and under the musical guidance of Professor Michael Spiro), performed to a packed house on April 2 at 8 pm in Sweeney Hall. Be sure to catch them at the IU Jacobs School of Music Ice Cream Social at the end of the semester.   More details will follow.

Rave Reviews:  IU Percussion Ensemble
IU Percussion Ensemble

The IU Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of John Tafoya and Kevin Bobo, received rave reviews from Peter Jacobi of the Bloomington Herald newspaper.

"The whole of the affair took just under an hour, but for this listener's ears, that was enough music to take in and enough to show what ensemble directors John Tafoya and Kevin Bobo have managed to accomplish with these talented young practitioners of percussion."

The IU Percussion Ensemble will perform a final concert on April 18 at 7 pm in Auer Hall.  Featured guest artists include Professor Daniel Perantoni (tuba) and Professor Jeff Nelsen (horn).

Special Thanks to Julie Spencer

Julie Spencer

Internationally renowned Marimba performer, educator, and composer, Julie Spencer presented a masterclass at the IU Jacobs School of Music on Wednesday, March 30, 2011.  In addition to performing several of her marimba compositions she also had all of our percussion majors involved in a fun and educational group improvisation session.

IU Jacobs School of Music Marching Hundred Drumline joins forces with the Watson Academy Drumline

Watson Academy Drumline

Elementary students from the Watson Academy in Gary, Indiana (under the direction of Dr. Yancy) visited the IU Jacobs School of Music as part of ArtsWeek (February 17-27, 2011).  They had the opportunity to meet and work with members of the IU Marching Hundred Drumline and with the drumline's director, Mr. Joel Brainard on February 20th.  The Watson Academy students were featured in a performance in the lobby of the IU School of Education building on Monday, February 21, 2011.

Cleveland Orchestra Residency at the IU Jacobs School of Music

A special thank you to Mr. Paul Yancich (principal timpanist) and Mr. Richard Weiner (principal percussionist) of the Cleveland Orchestra, who presented extremely informative orchestral masterclasses on January 24 and 25 for the percussion majors at the IU Jacobs School of Music. 

Yancich Class

Weiner class

IU Percussion Students Celebrate the Holidays!

IU Holiday Masterclass Photo

IU Percussion Students performed a special Holiday Masterclass on December 1st - featuring traditional holiday compositions and some rather unusual ones!  Click on the above image to view a sample of this terrific event.

Anders Astrand Masterclass

Anders Astrand

Internationally acclaimed vibraphonist Anders Astrand presented an informative and exciting masterclass for our percussion majors on Wednesday, November 10th.

Aronoff and Zildjian Scholarship Winners
Aronoff and Zildjian Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to the 2010-11 Aronoff and Zildjian Scholarship Winners:  Nick Stevens (Zildjian scholarship), Sam Harding (Aronoff scholarship) and Reuben Gingrich (Zildjian scholarship). 

[photo from left to right:  Professor Michael Spiro, Professor John Tafoya, Nick Stevens, Sam Harding, Professor Steve Houghton, Professor Kevin Bobo, and Reuben Gingrich]

She-e Wu Masterclass

She-e Wu Masterclass

World-renowned marimba artist, She-e Wu presented an energetic and informative masterclass on September 16.  Many students had the opportunity to perform for Ms. Wu and many interesting musical topics were discussed.

IU Percussion Majors visit PAS Rhythm! Discovery Center

PAS Rhythm! Discovery Museum

IU percussion majors were featured in special performances and were able to have an all access experience at the PAS Rhythm! Discovery Center museum on September 11, 2010.  Special performances included Bata, Marimba, Drum set, and a Jazz mallet duo.  Special thanks to PAS President Steve Houghton and Executive Director, Michael Kenyon.

New Boobams!

IU Percussion Department percussion technician, Mr. Stacey Duggan, recently created a set of Boobams (for the IU Percussion Ensemble's upcoming performance of Rouse's "Ku Ka Ilimomu").  Thank you Stacey!


J.J. Pearse

Congratulations to J.J. Pearse!  J.J. was awarded the prestigious Performer's Certificate from the IU Jacobs School of Music on September 21, 2010.

Paul Walker

Congratulations to Paul Walker. Paul recently won the position of principal timpanist with the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra.

Rod Kosterman

The Percussive Arts Society recently announced the winning compositions for the Percussive Arts Society Percussion Composition Contest. Cash awards totaling $4,500 will be distributed to this year's winners.

Kenneth "Rod" Kosterman won 3rd Place in the (Category II) Marimba and Cello composition competition. Rod is currently a MM percussion performance major. Congratulations Rod!

IU Steel Pan Ensemble

The IU Steel Pan Ensemble, under the direction of Associate Instructor Brian Mueller, performs for the IU JSOM annual Ice Cream Social on May 3, 2010.

Jesse Willis

Congratulations to Jesse Willis!  Jesse was recently offered the position Assistant Professor of Music/ Director of Percussion Studies at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina.

IU Latin Jazz Band

The IU Latin Jazz Band, under the direction of Professor Michael Spiro presented an end of the year concert on April 15 in Auer Hall. This relatively new ensemble is becoming quite popular (for students and audience alike)!

Jen Bollero

Jen Bollero was the recipient of the Frederick Ebbs Scholarship.
The Frederick Ebbs Memorial Fund provides scholarships in the Indiana University School of Music, with preference given to undergraduate music education majors who have the potential of becoming outstanding band directors.

Jake Harpster was selected as a 2010 Yamaha Young Performing Artist. Jake is one of approximately 10 musicians selected throughout the country for this honor. Jake was also recently awarded a Performer's Certificate from the IU Jacobs School of Music. Performer's Certificates are awarded in special recognition to an individual who has demonstrated musical understanding and technical proficiency in a recital.

Mary McCauley was awarded the prestigious Performer's Certificate from the IU Jacobs School of Music.

Brian Blume won the collegiate division of the Mid-Missouri Solo Marimba Competition in Lebanon, Missouri on Saturday, March 6. He also won the Restle Merit Award in the National Society of Arts and Letters Solo Instrumental Competition.

Nicholas Stevens was invited to participate in the National Orchestral Institute's 2010 festival. Parker Lee was named as an alternate for this festival as well.

Paul Walker and Ross Erickson have been invited to perform with the American Wind Symphony for its 2010 summer tour.

Reuben Gingrich has been hired to play drum set with Pop/R&B artist James Delisco. He will be performing at Marina Bay Sands (, which is a brand new resort opening in Singapore on April 27 (the band will perform from April 27-July 31).

Christopher Latournes has been hired to play percussion for the STAR WARS: IN CONCERT Tour this summer.

Anson Hohne recently received a Performer's Certificate from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. Anson is currently a senior majoring in jazz studies with Professor Steve Houghton.

Fred Begun

Fred Begun (Principal Timpanist with the National Symphony Orchestra from 1951-1999) presented a terrific masterclass for IU percussion majors on April 7th. He talked about his experiences with famous conductors and described the 4 timpani concertos he premiered with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Keith Aleo / Avedis Zildjian Company

Keith Aleo, Director of Education and Orchestral Activities Worldwide for the Avedis Zildjian company presented a masterclass at IU on April 14th. In addition to his spirited and informative clinic, the Zildjian company also provided a large sampling of cymbals for our students to examine and purchase. Special thanks also to John King.

Evelyn Glennie

Internationally renowned Grammy Award-winning percussion soloist Evelyn Glennie will visit the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Monday, April 12, 2010 for a series of intensive educational sessions. All events, including a percussion master class from noon to 2 p.m. in Recital Hall, are open to the public. Touch The Sound, an award-winning film that documents Glennie's life and musical achievements, will be shown in Recital Hall from 2:30-4:30 p.m. April 12. The day concludes with a seminar with composition students from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Sweeney Hall.