Michael Rosen

  • Professor of Percussion
  • Director, Division of Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion

Areas of Study


  • BM, Temple University, 1964
  • MM, University Illinois Urbana, 1966


Michael Rosen is as at home with symphonic literature as he is with contemporary music, having served as principal percussionist with the Milwaukee Symphony from 1966 to 1972. He has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Concertgebouw Orchestra, as well as the Grand Teton Music Festival and the Sunflower Festival.

At Oberlin, he teaches, conducts the Oberlin Percussion Group, and is director of the Oberlin Percussion Institute. In 2019 he was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.

A native of Philadelphia, Rosen was a student of Charles Owen and received a Master of Music degree at the University of Illinois, where he studied with Jack McKenzie and Tom Siwe. He has also studied with Cloyd Duff and Fred Hinger.

He maintains a continuing column in Percussive Notes magazine that deals with percussion terms in world languages, and he is also editor of the ‘‘Focus on Performance’’ section of the magazine.

He has served as clinician for many state chapters of the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), as well as the International Convention. Rosen was a member of the board of directors of the PAS for many years and is a clinician and endorser for the Zildjian Cymbal Company.

Rosen is in demand as a clinician and has appeared for such organizations as the TBMA, OMEA, TMEA, MENC, MBDC MusicFest Canada and NYSMA, and has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. He has recorded for the Bayerische Rundfunk, Opus One, Furious Artisans, Albany, Lumina, and CRI labels.

He has concertized and taught extensively in Europe, at the Jeunesses Musicales Internationale Summerkurse in Weikersheim, Germany; at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam; and at the Arturo Toscanini Foundation in Parma, Italy. He served as a juror for the International Geneva Music Competition in 2009, and at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Lyon and at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec à Montréal. Other engagements include concerts and clinics at conservatories and music courses in Italy, France, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Brazil, Belgium, Spain, Hong Kong, and Beijing.