Faculty Profiles

Jason Haaheim


Jason Haaheim Jason Haaheim was appointed a Principal Timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 2013. In addition to performances at New York's Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, Mr. Haaheim can be seen and heard performing with the MET Orchestra on television, international radio, and Live in HD movie theater broadcasts. Guest principal timpanist engagements have included the Seoul Philharmonic, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and the Milwaukee Symphony. Mr. Haaheim has also been principal timpanist of the Lakes Area Music Festival, and a resident artist of the Twickenham Festival. A sought-after clinician, Mr. Haaheim gives masterclasses both nationally and internationally, and is a founder of the multi-day Northland Timpani Summit. He is an adjunct faculty member of the NYU Steinhardt School of Music, and a frequent coach for the National Youth Orchestra (NYO) and the New York Youth Symphonies (NYYS).

Prior to the Met, Mr. Haaheim was principal timpanist of the Southwest Michigan Symphony and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and he performed regularly as timpanist with the Madison Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Peoria Symphony, and the Illinois Philharmonic. Mr. Haaheim has also been invited to perform as guest principal timpanist with the Chicago Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Glimmerglass Festival, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Mr. Haaheim began studying piano in 4th grade, adding percussion studies in 5th grade. He holds a bachelor of arts degree with a double major in honors-music-performance and physics from Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN); he also holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from UC-Santa Barbara. Influential teachers have included John Tafoya (Indiana University, National Symphony), Dean Borghesani (Milwaukee Symphony), Jonathan Haas (Aspen Music Festival, NYU), and Robert Adney (Gustavus Adolphus College, MacPhail Music School). While auditioning and freelancing, Mr. Haaheim worked as “Senior Research and Development Engineer” at NanoInk, a Chicago-area tech company. In this capacity, he gave invited talks on nanotechnology, authored multiple peer-reviewed publications, and was granted numerous patents. In 2017, this dual-career path was highlighted in an interview with Melissa Block on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Active in all musical areas, Mr. Haaheim has also performed extensively as a chamber musician and jazz drummer. He collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma in a Civic Orchestra / Silk Road Ensemble performance, and recorded the premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s “Terpsichore’s Dream” with members of the Chicago Symphony. Mr. Haaheim has performed with Chicago’s ensemble dal niente, and premiered Ryosuke Yagi’s “Mirrors…for timpani” with the UCSB Ensemble of Contemporary Music. Other projects have included drumming for the jazz-fusion quartet “The J3 Intent” and the alt-country band “The Lost Cartographers.” At Gustavus, Mr. Haaheim was selected for the honors recital and won first place in the orchestra’s concerto competition. Extra-musical interests include backpacking and hiking, rock climbing, and both downhill and cross-country skiing.