Percussion EnsembleAll percussion majors study and perform chamber music together as part of Bard’s resident student percussion ensemble. The Percussion Ensemble rehearses 3 or 4 times per week and receives weekly coachings with members of Sō Percussion.
Solo Performance RequirementsStudents frequently perform in public, programming full recitals in at least 2 out of their last 3 years. The final recital is considered the student’s required degree recital. For the degree recital students are required to write program notes and a professional biography.
Academic Music RequirementsThe core music curriculum requirements include four semesters of the Conservatory Core Sequence, which consists of Harmony and Counterpoint, Composing in Classical Forms, Composition for Performers, and Conservatory Seminar. In addition, students take courses in aural skills, music history, and orchestra repertoire.
- Dan Druckman: Associate Principal Percussionist of the New York Philharmonic, Chair of the Juilliard Percussion Program
- Thomas Freer: Assistant Principal Timpani of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra
- Jonathan Haas: Principal Percussionist of the American Symphony Orchestra, Artist-Faculty at the Aspen Music Festival
- Matthew Strauss: Houston Symphony Orchestra, Professor at Rice University and University of Miami
- Jan Williams: Professor Emeritus of Percussion at SUNY Buffalo
- Greg Zuber: Principal Percussionist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Artist-Faculty of the Verbier Music Festival
A "Sō Day"Members of Sō Percussion are in residence at Bard one day per week for lessons, coachings and rehearsals. This “Sō Day” is usually a whirlwind of activity and music making. Although students study primarily with one member of Sō Percussion each semester for their private instruction, they frequently work with the other members in order to take advantage of individual areas of expertise. This program allows students to work in depth on individual skills, while at the same time gaining exposure to a broad range of instruction.
About the Students
In conversation with some members of the Percussion Studio: Sam, Daniel, and Meilin
What is it like to work with Sō Percussion?
Daniel: It’s amazing. They are young and energetic, and they are incredible at what they do, which makes them really fun to work with. They also work so well together as a group, but they each have such distinct teaching and musical insights.
Sam: They are all classically trained but are on the cutting edge of new chamber music, which is awesome for us. Because when they commission new works, we get to work on the pieces with them a lot of the time.
Why did you choose Bard?
Meilin: I chose Bard because the option to earn a double-degree was very apealling to me. It makes me a more well-rounded musician with a broader perspective of the world.
What is your experience like in orchestra?
Meilin: Working with Maestro Botstein is amazing because he knows so much about all of the music that we play.
Daniel: We get to play such a wide variety of music. We play all of the standard works, but also a lot of new or forgotten music.
Sam: There’s also the opportunity to play in so many different places, including prisons through the Bard Prison Initiative. We even did a tour of Cuba a couple of years ago!
How many hours a day do you practice and how many do you spend playing?
Sam: I practice around 2-3 hours a day.
Daniel: And we play in classes or rehearsals at least another 2-3 hours a day.
What are your other activities and opportunities for percussion at Bard?
Daniel: There is percussion ensemble, Music Alive! contemporary music concerts, which allows us to actually work with the composers, other student organized concerts, faculty/sta concerts, and Conservatory Orchestra. We are always in high demand!