Percussion Department Ensembles
Under the direction of Dr. Larry Snider, the UA percussion ensembles are part of the current percussion explosion. To enhance the genre and engage new audiences, we are dedicated to performing serious works by many notable experimental composers.
The Percussion Ensemble performs 20th and 21st century chamber music from avant-garde composers like Varese, Cowell, Cage, and Harrison, to modern day composers including Lansky, Lang, Treuting, and Cole. This group frequently premieres new works for percussion and offers opportunities to work with living composers from all over the world.
Founded in 1980 by Dr. Snider, The University of Akron Steel Drum Band is recognized today as one of the nation’s first and foremost collegiate panorama-style ensembles, the band performs locally and throughout the United States, enabling UA students to gain valuable experience in teaching and playing ethnic music and Latin accessory instruments.
In 1987, it was one of the first US groups to travel to Trinidad and Tobago to learn about the birthplace of pan. Since then, many students and alumni have traveled to perform in the 100-piece steel bands that convene during Carnival celebrations. The Steel Band’s recording, “Live from EJ Thomas Hall,” was nominated for a Grammy award, and “Hammer on Steel,” a live concert and documentary, earned eight Emmy award nominations and airs on PBS stations nationwide.
African Drumming Ensemble
Students gain first-hand knowledge from the masters of the drum and gyil (African xylophone) as well as learn about the culture of Ghana and other West African nations. Several UA undergraduate and graduate students have traveled to Ghana to study at the Dagara Music Center.
UA Samba Ensemble
The percussion traditions of Carnival in Brazil is the focus of this high-energy ensemble, where students experience residencies with Brazilian percussion expert Michael Spiro, performing authentic music on authentic instruments.
Related: Percussion homepage