Programs - Percussion Studies

Percussion Studies Performing Opportunities

NYU's Percussion Studies program is housed in the NYU Percussion Penthouse Suite, located in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village. Our Percussion Penthouse offers more than 2500 square feet of dedicated rehearsal space as well as numerous individual practice studios, and our newly acquired NYU Percussion Instruments Collection represents one of the most formidable acquisitions of high-end percussion instruments anywhere.

Performance opportunities include the NYU Symphony Orchestra, Opera Orchestra, Broadway Studio Orchestra, NYU Classical Percussion Studio Ensemble, Batucata Ensemble, NYU Steel Ensemble, Contemporary Chamber Music Ensemble, Studio Recording Ensemble, New Music and Dance Ensemble, and numerous crossover ensembles in jazz and pop styles. These performance and training opportunities are combined with elective courses in our Department's renowned programs in Electronic and Computer Music Composition, Music Technology, Film Scoring, Jazz Studies, Opera and Music Theatre, Music Education, and Music Business.

You can choose to concentrate in percussive theatre arts, timpani, or classical percussion, or combine repertoire and related techniques from a combination of different focus topics.

NYU Percussive Theater Arts

The goals of Percussion Theater Arts (PTA) are to thoroughly train percussionists in the two newest of art forms that have emerged in the music world: (1) Percussion in Theater and (2) Theater featuring Percussionist. The seminal representative professional percussion groups that inspire NYU's PTA are "Stomp" and "Blue Man Group."

The Broadway component in PTA includes the study of existing Broadway shows as well as training in the percussion skills and techniques necessary to perform in a Broadway show. NYU's unique PTA studies include opportunities to study selected Broadway shows from the actual pit. Broadway has known and respected music training at NYU for generations.

PTA offers countless career opportunities and prepares percussionists to be outstanding in technique and skills on the vast percussion array of percussion instruments including all mallet percussion, timpani, multiple percussion, drum set, Latin percussion and world percussion. Graduating NYU PTA percussion students are prepared for jobs in: 

  • Solo theatrical repertoire
  • Small ensemble (duo, trio, quartet)
  • Large ensemble
  • Basic Movement for interactive performances
  • Basic theater arts skills
  • Broadway and Off Broadway "pit" playing
  • National touring company performing
  • Composition of original pieces

The NYU Timpani Guild

The Timpani Guild is a highly concentrated focus for aspiring timpanists. Classical timpani repertoire is studied in-depth in addition to innovative solo and chamber music repertoire. Intensive training and practice prepares our students for the myriad forms of timpani auditions for professional success. Our intensive training is designed to help our graduates win orchestral timpani positions with focused attention on the repertoire as well as audition excerpts. In addition to preparation for orchestral positions in timpani, other aspects of timpani performance including commercial, jazz-rock, contemporary, and electro/computer generated multi media applications are also studied. This eclectic timpani training prepares our students for success in an ever-changing music profession.

NYU Percussion Ensemble Recordings

  • Andrew Wollner: Fantasy
  • Sergi Casanelles: From the Stars
  • Agatha Kasprzyk: As the Boy's Eyes Opened...

NYU Classical Percussion

The NYU Classical Percussion focus offers a well-rounded study of percussion and timpani repertoire constituting a traditional, well-rounded percussion education. This program is modeled after the finest tried-and-true percussion programs and offers the study of solo, trio, quartets and large ensemble repertoire. The study of orchestral repertoire is also covered as well as a vast study of the percussion and timpani repertoire in preparation for winning orchestral positions. This focus is perfect for aspiring teachers and as well as for young performers who have not decided which area of specialization in which they would like to concentrate.

Private Lessons

Weekly private lessons are a cornerstone in a performance major's musical experience at NYU. Our world class percussion faculty offer diverse and up-to-date viewpoints on performance, interpretation and technique in a uniquely interactive program of study. This program is designed to encourage a learning process in which musical diversity stimulates and sustains creativity and thoughtfulness in the performing arts.

The NYU Percussion Ensemble

NYUPE presents one major concert each year. The ensemble meets for 3 hours during the concert preparation period. Repertoire is far ranging including percussion ensemble classics, world premieres , experimental, world music, commercial, with film, with dance, and with mixed ensembles.

NYU Steel

Under the direction of Joshua Quillen, NYU Steel seeks to explore the exciting world of steel pan music while breaking boundaries to incorporate arrangements of contemporary pieces including works by Philip Glass and Jason Trueting. Every semester they discover the rich cultural and musical sounds of Trinidad, where steel pan was pioneered in the mid-1940s. Personifying the heart and soul of this Caribbean island, NYU Steel delights with a variety of concerts each year lifting audiences from their seats to dance to the infectious beats.

The NYU Percussion Repertoire Class

This class meets regularly for 3 hours each week, when the NYUPE is not preparing for the annual concert. The repertoire class prepares compositions that are being rehearsed for performances by the numerous NYU ensembles, such as the Symphony Orchestra, The New Music Ensemble, the Composer's Ensemble, and the New Music Dance Ensemble. Several sessions are devoted to technique on individual orchestral instruments. Class time is also devoted to discussion of career opportunities, networking and management.

The NYU Faculty Master Class Series

This series meets 4 times per year and presents NYU's acclaimed faculty in master classes. This is a collaborative class in which percussion students are required to perform solo works a minimum of twice each year. Detailed discussions and critiques of our percussion students' performances by the NYU "master" faculty are an integral part of the faculty master class series.

The NYU Guest Artist Series

The NYU Guest Artist Series meets 4 times per year. Master musicians are invited to present master classes in their specific discipline. Our percussion students perform in these classes and benefit greatly by constructive critiques by the invited guest artists.