Student and alumni News

Congratulations to Kramer Milan (DMA 2020) on his new position as Professor of Percussion at University of Northern Iowa!

Congratulations to Emily Strachan (MM 2018) on her new position as Operations Director for String Theory at the Hunter, General Manager for arx duo, and Operations Manager for Emerald City Music!

Congratulations to Josh Blessing (BME 2018) on being one of the winners of the Semper Pro Musica Solo and Chamber Music Competition! Josh will be performing ‘Burritt Variations’ by Alejandro Vinao at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall!

Congratulations to Sebastian Buhts (DMA 2019) on receiving the MSU Dissertation Completion Fellowship: Buhts will be conducting research in Varanasi, India on the Benares lineage of tabla performance practices

Congratulations to Alex Smith (DMA 2018) on receiving the prestigious Fulbright-Hays Award to conduct original research in Ghana!

Congratulations to Alice Pan (DMA 2017) on her solo marimba album release, “Of Love and Loss”

Congratulations to the MSU Percussion Ensemble for being selected as one of the winners of the PASIC Percussion Ensemble Competition 2017! Please check out our YouTube channel for videos of our PASIC performances.


4LoKo$' Quartet

(Alice Pan - DMA 2017, Kathryn Irwin - DMA 2018, Alex Smith - DMA 2018)

2017 - performances and master classes in Taiwan and Japan 

Balanced Structure Percussion Duo -

(Kathryn Irwin – DMA 2018, Emily Strachan – MM 2018)

2018 - Ensemble Fellows at the Cortona Sessions for New Music

2017 - performances at Wichita State University and the University of Kansas, residency at Avaloch Farm Music Institute as part of Ensemble Impromptu

2016 – performances and classes at Louisiana State University, Southeastern Louisiana State University, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and finalists in the MSU Concerto Competition

Tala Rasa Percussion Trio -

(James Beauton – BM 2010, Brendan Betyn – BM 2013, Steve Wulff – BM 2008, DMA 2017)

2016 – Performances and classes at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Maryland

2016 – Presser Award given by the Peabody Conservatory

2015 – Performances and classes at Southern Utah University, University of Las Vegas, Los Angeles City College, Cypress College, University of California Santa Barara, Chapman University

2014 – Performances and classes at Interlochen Center for the Arts, California Institute of the Arts, Chapman University


Michael Armendariz (DMA 2015)

Instructor of percussion and music business at New Mexico State University 

PAS chapter president of New Mexico (2014-16)

Garrett Arney (BM 2010) -

Member of the arx percussion duo -

Instructor of Percussion at the Peabody Conservatory

Instructor of Percussion at Cleveland State University

Visiting Guest Artist at Michigan State University

Carnegie Hall Ensemble ACJW Fellow - 2014-16

Artist Diploma – Yale School of Music

MM – Peabody Conservatory

Pablo Bagilet (DMA 2011)

Principal Percussionist of the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra (Santa Fe, Argentina)

Principal Timpanist of the Orquestra Sinfonica de Entre Rios (Parana, Argentina)

Professor of Percussion at the Instituto Superior de Musica de la Universidad Nacional (Santa Fe, Argentina)

James Beauton (BM 2011) -

DMA – University of San Diego (in progress)

Member of RedFish BlueFish

Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival - 2012

Winner of the Southern California Marimba Competition – 2012

MM – Stonybrook University

Mickey Bertelsen (MM 2020)

Percussionist at 338th US Army Reserve Band

BME - Central Michigan University

Brendan Betyn (BM 2013)

DMA – Peabody Conservatory (in progress)

Baltimore School of the Arts – Teaching Assistant

Colorado College Summer Music Festival - 2016

Aspen Music Festival – 2014

MM – Peabody Conservatory

Josh Blessing (BME 2018)

MM - Baylor University (in progress)

Zac Brunell (BM 2015) -

Director of Detroit Bureau of Sound

Manager of New Music Detroit

Member of YAK

So Percussion Summer Institute - 2014

Sebastian Buhts (DMA 2019) -

Summer Tabla Workshop with Shawn Mativetsky, Montréal - 2017, 2018

Adjunct Professor of Percussion, Belmont University - 2015

Aspen Music Festival - 2014

Zeltsman Marimba Festival - 2010

Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Seminar - 2008

BM & MM - Belmont University

Steve Dailey (BME 2009)

Band Director at Castle North Middle School (Newburgh, IN)

MM - Wind Conducting, Baylor University

Moose Davis (MM 2017) -

Cortona Sessions for New Music (Festival Participant) – 2016

Great Plains Marimba Competition, Third Prize – 2015

BM - University of Central Arkansas

Mark DeMull (MM 2011) -

DMA – Peabody Conservatory (in progress)

Instructor of Percussion, University of Baltimore

Instructor of percussion, Saginaw Valley State University - 2011-13

Instructor of Percussion, Alma College - 2010-13

Performance Diploma – Peabody Conservatory

Brent Echols (BME 2014)

MM - Wind Conducting, Michigan State University (in progress)

Assistant Director of Bands at Robert E Lee High School (Tyler, TX)

Cody Edgerton (BME 2016)

Band Director at Elk Rapids High School and Middle School (Elk Rapids, MI)

Henry Eichman (DMA 2021)

Percussion Instructor, Jackson Symphony Orchestra Community Music School - 2018

Section Percussionist, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra - 2016-18

Modern Snare Drum Competition, Second Place - 2017

Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Seminar - 2015

MM - University of Minnesota Duluth

BM - West Chester University

Jake Finkbeiner (MM 2009)

Band Director at Grand Blanc West Middle School (Grand Blanc, MI)

Instructor of Percussion, Alma College - 2008-09

Josh Flynn (MM 2017)

Assistant Band Director and Percussion Instructor, Northridge High School (Middlebury, IN)

Percussion Teacher, Center Grove High School (Greenwood, IN) - 2017

BME - University of Indianapolis

Daniel Gerhardt (BM 2018)

MM - University of Miami (in progress)

Caleb Goncz (BME 2016)

Assistant Band Director at Grand Blanc High School (Grand Blanc, MI)

Sam Gould (DMA 2013)

Instructor of Percussion, Grand Rapids Community College

Instructor of Music Literature, Grand Valley State University

Jake Greenwood (BME 2009)

Assistant Director of Bands at Troy High School (Troy, MI)

Former Band Director at Leslie High School (Leslie, MI) 

Alina Grimm (DMA 2013)

Fine Arts Coordinator, Drake University

Percussion Teaching Artist, Drake University

National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy Paper Presentation - 2014

Tia Harvey (MM 2014, DMA 2017)

Running Start Competition Michigan State University Grant Winner – 2016

National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy Paper Presentation - 2015

Kathryn Irwin (DMA 2018) -

Music Teacher at Sebastian Elementary School (Palm Bay, FL)

Finalist in the MSU Running Start Competition - 2018

Cortona Sessions for New Music (Festival Participant) – 2016

Eutin Opera Festival - 2014

MM - University of Kansas

BME - Louisiana State University

Liz Karney (BME 2017)

MM - University of Denver (in progress)

So Percussion Summer Institute - 2018

Percussion Director, Columbine High School (Denver, CO)

Kevin Keith (MM 2016) -

Performance Diploma – University of Denver (in progress)

Featured Performer at Electronic Music Midwest 2016

Extra Percussionist, Colorado Symphony - 2016-present

Colorado College Summer Music Festival – 2015, 2016

Wei-Chen Lin (DMA 2012)

Lein Percussion Group Member

Professor of Music, TransWorld University (Douliu City, Taiwan)

Craig Luft (2011 BME)

Band Director at Corunna High School (Corunna, MI)

Ben Mapes (BM 2014)

DMA – Peabody Conservatory (in progress)

Alice and Leary Taylor Award in Performance from the Peabody Conservatory

Chautauqua Summer Music Festival – 2015

MM – Peabody Conservatory

Denise Martaus (BME 2011)

Elementary Music Teacher for the Huron Valley School District (Oakland Co, MI)

Frontline Instructor, Redline Percussion

Kramer Milan (DMA 2020) -

Adjunct Professor of Percussion, Olivet College - 2017, 2018

Section Percussionist, Midland Symphony - 2018

Substitute Timpanist, New World Symphony - 2015-present

Vic Firth, Zildjian, and Pearl/Adams Artist Educator

Norfolk Chamber Music Festival - 2016

Aspen Music Festival - 2014

Chautauqua Music Festival - 2013

Cloyd Duff Timpani Masterclass - 2012

MM - Yale School of Music

BM - Peabody Conservatory

Emilio Monreal (MM 2017)

Genesis Drum & Bugle Corps, Battery Specialist - 2019

Assistant Band Director/Percussion Instructor, Angleton High School (Angleton, TX)

Corpus Christi FLAMM Jam Guest Artist - 2018

Joe Mundy (BME 2010)

Band Director at Pelham High School (Pelham, NH)

Director of the Manchester Community Music School NH Youth Wind Ensemble

Yun Ju “Alice” Pan (DMA 2017) 

Master Classes at the University of Ohio, Ball State University, University of North Alabama

First Prize Winner of the Australian International Marimba Competition - 2016

First Prize Winner at the Taiwan International Percussion Championship – 2016

First Prize and Audience Prize Winner at the Taiwan International Percussion Championship – 2015

First Prize Winner at the White Lake Solo Competition - 2014

PASIC International Vibraphone Competition Third Prize Winner – 2013

Isaac Pyatt (MM 2020) -

Waterloo Region Contemporary Music Sessions - 2018

North Carolina PAS Soloist Competition, First Place - 2016, 2017

So Percussion Summer Institute - 2016

Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Seminar - 2015

BM, Percussion & Composition - UNC Greensboro

Chuck Scheller (BME 2013)

Elementary Music Teacher Ector County Independent School District (Odessa, TX)

Natalie Sears (BME 2014)

Band Director at Pinewood Middle School (Kentwood, MI) 

Geordan Sherd (BME 2010)

Middle and High School Music Teacher, Chadwick International School (Incheon, Korea)

Steve Spence (BME 2008)

Band Director at Greenfield Middle School (El Cajon, CA)

Alex Smith (MM 2014, DMA 2018)

Assistant Professor of Percussion, University of Central Missouri - 2017-present

Article Published - "New Musical Contexts for More Sustainably Made Marimbas" in the inaugural issue of the Percussive Notes Online Research Journal.

Michigan Heritage Award – 2016

Somers Teaching Award from Michigan State University – 2015

Winner of the Hatching Competition Grant – 2015

Rasmussen Award from Michigan State University – 2015

Running Start Grant Competition Winner- 2014

UNCG Sustainable Shorts Competition – 2014

Emily Strachan (MM 2018)

String Theory at the Hunter, Operations Director - present

Emerald City Music, Operations Manager - present

arx duo, General Manager - present

Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Training Ensembles Recruitment and Operations intern - 2018

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, season intern - 2017

Yarn/Wire Institute - 2017

Sandbox Percussion Seminar - 2016, 2017

So Percussion Summer Institute - 2014

Chosen Vale International Percussion Seminar - 2013

Cloyd Duff Timpani Masterclass - 2013

BM - University of Kansas

Tomoko Taki (Performance Diploma 2014) -

Solo Performer and Educator (Tottori, Japan)

Kelsey Tamayo (DMA 2014) 

Percussion Professor at Drury University

Taneycomo Festival Orchestra – 2016

Interlochen Arts Camp Teaching Assistant - 2013

Ross Taylor (BME 2013)

Assistant Band Director at Clarckson Community Schools (Clarckson MI) 

Front Ensemble Manager, Redline Percussion

Innovative Percussion Artist/Educator

Mackenzie Viventi (BME 2011) 

Director and Teacher at Miss Mackenzie Music (Agoura Hills, CA) 

Zuri Wells (BM 2016, MM 2018)

Performance Diploma - University of Toronto (in progress)

Brevard Music Center Concerto Competition Winner – 2015

Brevard Music Festival – 2015

NANM Competition Third Prize Winner – 2014

Demetrius White (BME 2010)

Band Director Holland Public Schools (Holland, MI)

Jonathan Wright (BME 2015) -

Band Director and Music Teacher at Springfield Schools (Springfield, CO)


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