Program Overview

Percussion

The undergraduate focus of our Percussion Program emphasizes individualized, rigorous instruction and plentiful opportunities to put all you learn into practice. You will build a foundation in music theory and aural skills and develop your technique and musicianship through the study of both solo literature and a wide variety of ensemble repertoire.

Percussion student performs with the Contemporary Music Ensemble in Warner Concert Hall.
Percussion student performs with the Contemporary Music Ensemble in Warner Concert Hall.
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko

Program Facts

Division Director

Richard Hawkins,
Professor of Clarinet

Contact

440-775-8198
A student percussionist performs with the Oberlin Orchestra on tour at Carnegie Hall.
A student percussionist performs with the Oberlin Orchestra on tour at Carnegie Hall.
Photo credit: Fadi Kheir

Ensembles for Percussionists

In addition to the Oberlin Percussion Group, which is dedicated to presenting contemporary music written for percussion, students perform with the Oberlin Orchestra and Contemporary Music Ensemble. Other ensembles include Performance & Improvisation (PI) Ensembles, Silent Film Ensemble, Oberlin Improvisation & New Music Collective, Javanese Gamelan, Sumatran Talempong, Oberlin Baroque Orchestra, Oberlin Jazz Ensemble, and the student-led Oberlin Taiko ensemble.

Performance Ensembles

Percussion Studio

The percussion studio is a hands-on museum of instruments. It’s packed with all manner of mallet instruments and drums, as well as the orchestral battery needed for performance in Oberlin’s ensembles, alongside exotic gongs and drums. 

Students have access to this impressive array of professional quality instruments, which include four sets of timpani (original Dresden, two sets of Clevelander timpani, and four Ludwig balanced-action drums) as well as a 20" piccolo and a 32" timpani. The marimba collection includes a King George, five-octave Adams and Kori instruments, and a MarimbaOne concert marimba. There are four vibraphones, five glockenspiels, five xylophones, three sets of chimes, dozens of cymbals, and many snare drums and tom-toms with calf heads. Oberlin's large collection of exotic percussion instruments include dobachi, bells plates, two and a half octaves of tuned gongs, four octaves of almglocken, vintage woodblocks, and many Chinese tom-toms.

Part of the collection of percussion instruments in the percussion studio.
Part of the collection of percussion instruments in the percussion studio.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones

Percussion Faculty

Conservatory faculty maintain active performance schedules while remaining accessible and committed to their students. Individual instruction is paramount to helping students develop their mechanical, technical, stylistic, psychological, and musical skills. And because Oberlin is dedicated to undergraduate education, all applied studio teaching, class room instruction, and ensembles are coached by professors—never by graduate students.

“I play more than 200 concerts a year in New York City and around the world with luminaries in my field, and I am equally dedicated to helping students establish a strong foundation, develop important music skills, and become excellent performers.”

Pablo Rieppi, Visiting Associate Professor of Percussion

See Profile

Affiliated Faculty

Billy Hart

Associate Professor of Jazz Percussion

Jamey Haddad

Professor of Advanced Improvisation and Percussion

Upcoming Percussion Events

Percussion News

Performing at Oberlin and Beyond

Percussion students gain performance acumen across a broad variety of genres in ensembles large and small. They perform in venues on and off campus and participate in recording projects on the Oberlin Music label. And, they collaborate with faculty, guest, and student composers in acoustic and electroacoustic works. Oberlin alumni percussionists perform around the world in orchestras and new music collectives, on Broadway and in recording studios, and they serve on the faculties of music schools across the country.

A percussion student occupies the solo spot with the Oberlin Orchestra.