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.
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, Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, 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) four times (1996, 2002, 2007, 2017) 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.