Oberlin Conservatory Percussion
Photo by Scott Shaw
Oberlin’s percussion studies program provides individualized, rigorous instruction under the tutelage of Professor Michael Rosen, a full-time faculty member and active performer and clinician. Our studio never exceeds 13 players, ensuring a great deal of attention for each percussionist’s individual musical and technical development as well as guaranteeing the maximum in performance opportunities. At Oberlin all teaching, class room instruction and ensembles are coached by professors, never by graduate students.
At Oberlin, there are no graduate students and because of this all our attention goes to our undergraduates. Oberlin percussionists are assured of playing opportunities in our many ensembles including the Orchestra, Sinfonetta, Contemporary Music Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra, Brass Guild, Opera and the award-winning Oberlin Percussion Group, which has performed several times at PASIC Conventions and is dedicated to the presentation of contemporary music written for percussion. Other performing opportunities include Obie-Steel (Steel Drum Band), Pi Ensemble (an improvisatory group), Taiko Drumming Ensemble, jazz groups, and the Javanese Gamelon ensemble.
Oberlin students have had the opportunity to work with the finest percussionists and timpanists in the world in the exciting and stimulating atmosphere of clinics, master classes, and concerts and the Oberlin Percussion Institute. Some of the percussionists who have presented clinics and concerts at Oberlin have included Bob Becker, Steve Schick, Pius Cheung, Cloyd Duff, Mickey Bookspan, Frederic Macarez, Arnie Lang, Jean Geoffroy, Keiko Abe, Michael Burritt and Paul Yancich just to name a few.
Building upon a foundation in music theory and aural skills, the percussion program emphasizes the development of technique and musicianship through the study of both contemporary solo literature and orchestral repertoire. A balance between practice and performing is stressed. In addition to participating in small and large ensembles, all students perform a junior and senior recital in one of Oberlin's renowned performance spaces.
Percussionists at Oberlin can expect to perform a broad range of music including early music through the Romantic symphonists (Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky), the more modern composers (Stravinsky, Bartok, Shostakovich), and contemporary composers (Xenakis, Berio, Schwantner, Cage, Carter, Boulez, and Crumb). An important aspect of a student's development is working with Jamey Haddad who teaches classes in internalizing rhythm and also coaches several improvisatory ensembles.