The Eastman Percussion Studio has a long and prestigious legacy dating back to the 1920s. Michael Burritt is only the third professor in the history of the school and his predecessors include legendary percussionists and Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame members John Beck (1962 – 2008) and William Street (1927 – 1967). Eastman has graduated some of the most successful and influential percussionists in the history of the instrument. Names such as Alan Abel, John Beck, Bob Becker, Michael Burritt, Patsy Dash, Bill Cahn, Steve Gadd, Fred Hinger, Chris Lamb, Stanley Leonard, Dave Mancini, Duncan Patton, Mitchell Peters, Gordon Peters, Gordon Stout, Leigh Howard Stevens, and John Wyer represent percussion leaders in virtually every aspect of the field.
About the Percussion Studio
Percussion studies at the Eastman School of Music provide students 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 unparalleled experience in percussion training.
The Eastman Percussion Studio averages 22 members consisting of 16 undergraduates and 6 graduate students. The graduate class is a mixture of Master’s and Doctoral students. Graduate students are all involved as teaching assistants and their assignments include coaching and conducting percussion ensemble, teaching the Percussion Methods Class, performing in the graduate chamber orchestra and teaching non-major lessons.
Large Ensemble Experience
The percussion students all participate in the school’s outstanding ensembles. There are 2 orchestras (Philharmonia and the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra), 2 wind ensembles (The Eastman Wind Ensemble and Wind Orchestra) and Musica Nova (New Music Ensemble). Placement in the ensembles is determined through a screened orchestral audition process given twice a year (Fall and Spring Semesters).
Classes in Percussion
Students attend a weekly studio class where they perform in solo settings and experience lectures on topics such as practicing, interpretation, excerpts and more. Michael Burritt teaches Percussion Pedagogy Class and Percussion Literature Class in alternating years and John Beck, Professor Emeritus, teaches a History of Percussion Class in the fall semester.