Degrees Available

Bachelor of Music in Performance • Master of Music in Performance • Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance

  • For more information on degrees, ensembles, summer session, study abroad, and complete curricular handbooks, visit our Academics Page.
  • To apply to the Bienen School of Music, visit our Admission Page.

Percussion at the Bienen School of Music

Percussion Studies at Northwestern University provides a program of study in orchestral, solo, chamber, world and jazz idioms.  Students work with world-class artists in both private and master class settings, creating an unequaled experience in percussion training.

All students study with She-e Wu, the head of the percussion program, and also have the opportunity to work with the outstanding adjunct percussion faculty. This extraordinary collection of professionals truly makes Northwestern's Percussion Program one of the most diverse and prestigious in the world.

All entering doctoral students receive a full tuition scholarship and a work stipend.

The Percussion Studio

The Percussion Studio each year comprises approximately 20 students: 12 undergraduates and 8 graduate students. All students perform in the major ensembles with the exception of doctoral students who fill in when needed. Ensembles include the Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, two bands, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, as well as a Contemporary Music Ensemble. Ensemble placement is determined through a screened "mini" orchestral audition process given three times each year (fall, winter and spring quarters). This is an excellent training experience for the professional world.

The Percussion Ensemble is an integral part of the curriculum. It has performed at PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention) three times (1996, 2002, 2007) as a result of winning the International Percussion Ensemble Competition, and released its first CD in 2006. The Ensemble performs eight concerts on campus each year. Programming in the past has included works by Cage, Donatoni, Maslanka, Reich, Takemitsu, Varese, and Xanakis. Guest artists such as Leigh Stevens, Bob Becker, Anders Astrand, Gordon Stout, Steve Smith, Robin Engelman, Bill Cahn, and Steve Schick have performed with the ensemble.

Distinguished Alumni

  • Johan Bridger, winner of the Soloist Prize in Sweden; percussionist, Helsingborg Symphony
  • Thomas Burritt, professor of percussion, University of Texas at Austin
  • Brett Dietz, professor of percussion, Louisiana State University
  • Marc Dinitz, principal percussion, US Air Force Band (Washington DC)
  • Eric Garcia, timpanist, West Point Academy Band
  • Scott Herring, professor of percussion, University of South Carolina
  • Eric Hollenbeck, professor of percussion, Colorado State University (Fort Collins)
  • Will James, percussionist, New World Symphony
  • Kris Keeton, professor of percussion, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Angela Zator Nelson, percussionist, Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Jacob Nissly, principal percussion, San Francisco Symphony 

Experience music from the Percussion program by searching our Davee Media Library for performances, master classes, and much more!


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