MSU Percussion Faculty

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Gwendolyn Dease is currently associate professor of percussion at the Michigan State University College of Music. Dease is passionate about educating the next generation of young musicians. She regularly gives master classes at universities throughout the US and abroad and is currently on the faculty at the Brevard Music Center. She has served on the faculty for the Filarmonica Joven de Colombia and the Interlochen Arts Camp.

Dease began her musical career very early, studying piano and violin at the age of two. As a percussionist, she has maintained a career as an active solo, chamber, and orchestral musician. She has performed solo and chamber recitals throughout the United States, Asia and South America. Dease is passionate about new music and has participated in consortium’s to commission new works from composers such as Alejandro Vinao, Peter Klatzow, Paul Lansky, Martin Bresnick, John Serry and Roshanne Etezady. She is currently principal percussionist with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and the Brevard Music Center Orchestra. She has also performed with the Detroit Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Solisti New York Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Traverse Symphony Orchestra. 

In January of 2012, Dease was a recipient of the Michigan State University Teacher Scholar Award. She was the winner of the Keiko Abe Prize at the second World Marimba competition in Okaya, Japan, and the top prize winner at the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ ARTS competition. She was awarded the performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music and has also been the recipient of the Outstanding Young Musician award from the Peabody Conservatory and the Yale Alumni Award.

Dease’s impressive discography includes four solo CDs: “Marimba Suites” released in October of 2007 on the Blue Griffin label; “Boomslang: New Works for Marimba” released on the Blue Griffin label in October 2012; “Idle Fancies” released on the Bridge Records label in December of 2015 and “Beguiled” released on the Origin Classical Label in October 2016. Her collaborative projects include “Textures” (Percussion Chamber Music by Paul Lansky) released on the Bridge Records Label in August 2014 and “In the Shadow of No Towers” (The Phillip Glass Double Timpani Concerto) released on the Naxos Label in November 2013.  

Dease has studied with world-renowned professors Robert van Sice, Keiko Abe, and John Beck. She holds degrees from the Interlochen Arts Academy, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, and the Yale School of Music. 

Jon Weber is instructor of percussion at the Michigan State University College of Music, where he teaches applied percussion lessons, percussion ensemble, salsa band, and the award-winning Michigan State Drumline. The MSU Percussion Ensemble, with Weber as co-director, was selected to perform at the 2013 Percussive Arts Society International Convention. He has presented clinics throughout the United States, and in the summer of 2012 presented clinics and a recital in Colombia. Weber has also presented clinics at the Collegiate Band Directors National Association Symposium, Yamaha Sounds of Summer Program, and served as a panel clinician at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention multiple times. Weber has performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, the Brass Band of Battle Creek, the Flint Symphony Orchestra, the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, the New York Solsti Orchestra and the Santa Clara Vanguard. He has performed as a percussionist with various world fusion bands over the years. In 2009, he founded the Michigan State University salsa band, Salsa Verde, which performs in Michigan; he still directs and performs in this ensemble. He currently plays drumset with the Michigan salsa band Orquesta Ritmo. Weber assisted in the MSU Study Abroad Program in Cuba in May 2015, both teaching and performing with the enrolled musicians in Havana. He taught the Michigan All-State percussion program at Interlochen from 2007-2009. He has also taught percussion and the drumline at Oklahoma State University. He has performed Michael Daugherty's timpani concerto Raise the Roof with the MSU Wind Symphony and Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with Orchestra with the MSU Symphony Orchestra. Weber heads the percussion faculty for the summer Performing Arts Camp at Michigan State University. With the MSU Drumline, he has presented performances at the Bands of America Grand National Championships, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and wherever the Spartans play football, including the Rose Bowl in 2014. Weber has published his pieces X and Machine (winner of the 2013 PAS Percussion Composition Contest) with Tapspace Percussion. From 2004-2011, Weber was composer / arranger for the Detroit Pistons Drumline, which has performed at NBA games in Detroit and Chicago, with Kid Rock on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the 2006 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas. University and NBA Drumlines have performed his percussion arrangements throughout the United States. In 2013-2014 he arranged the front ensemble music for NorthCoast Academy of WGI. Weber received his DMA in percussion performance from Michigan State in 2008. He is a Yamaha Performing Artist, Tapspace Artist, and member of the Vic Firth Education Team.

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Randy Gelispie is instructor of jazz drums at the Michigan State University College of Music. He has been a professional jazz drummer since he started playing with a 10-piece band in the ninth grade. Gelispie has traveled on the road with Wes Montgomery, Sonny Stitt, Dinah Washington, Etta Jones, Lou Donaldson and Gene Ammons. In the Detroit area, he has performed with Joe Williams, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Oliver Jones, O. C. Smith, Al Hibbler and most recently with Geri Allen. He has worked with several blues musicians including Jimmy Witherspoon, John Lee Hooker, and Big Maybelle. Locally, he has played with many great jazz musicians, including Donald Walden, Marcus Belgrave, Perry Hughes, Rodney Whitaker, Gary Schunk, Rick Roe, Marian Hayden, Bill Heid, Andrew Speight and Wycliffe Gordon. -

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