Percussion

Degrees Available

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


About the Percussion Program

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, Cleveland Symphony Orchestra


Contact for further information:

She-e Wu, associate professor, percussion: sheewu@northwestern.edu