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The World Percussion Group

Assembling the world’s elite
Hitting your local percussion community

Directed by Maraca2
Maraca2 are currently respected as one of the World’s leading Percussion Ensembles. Tim Palmer and Jason Huxtable met whilst studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire in England. Whilst there, they attained the highest degree classifications, achieved distinction in the postgraduate course specialising in percussion duo and now teach at the Conservatoire as tutors of percussion. In 2014, they were both bestowed with the honour of becoming honorary members of the institution.

Maraca2 perform regularly at festivals and concert halls worldwide and have appeared as artists at many of the major percussion events including an evening concert at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. They have visited over 50 universities around the world and through this activity have inspired hundreds of young percussionists to pursue a career within the percussive arts.

Rhythm Magazine.
“Maraca2 wow the audience at the first Birmingham Percussion Day………Highlights included performances from David Friedmann and Maraca2, two young talents from the Conservatoire, who were fantastically dynamic and fun to watch.”

Birmingham Post
Percussion duo Maraca2 (Jason Huxtable, Tim Palmer), were each in charge of a large, but reasonably compact selection of instruments – a perfect showcase for crucial spatial awareness. They accomplished a spectacular memory job, interacting precisely with each other and a splendid supportive orchestra. Conductor Lionel Friend created seamless sustained chords whilst catching repeated marimba burblings and eerie bowed vibraphone notes. Subsequent contrasting tricky Stravinsky-like attack chords and lengthy complex rhythms were treated with assurance by all.
Our two talented heroes were slick and sensitive, engaging with listeners and orchestra, totally in command of an ever-changing aural kaleidoscope, but returning time and again to the bedrock of marimba and vibraphone patterns spiced with bright glockenspiel, cymbals, woodblocks and a multiplicity of drum textures.

The World Percussion Group
The World Percussion Group represents the next chapter in the evolution of the Maraca2 duo and was an idea that began to take form in 2014. The members of the WPG will be selected by audition from hundreds of applicants worldwide and will represent the very best young percussion players. The mission of the WPG is not just to inspire audiences and students but to give an international platform to the best percussionists of the next generation, providing an opportunity for cultural sharing.

Selected WPG members will deliver their own presentations, clinics, lessons, performances, and masterclasses and put together a touring ensemble that will deliver an extremely high quality ‘mobile percussion festival’ to the European educational market. “We are extremely excited about forming another ensemble selected from a pool of world class young professionals and bringing them to local percussion communities in Europe."

Maraca2 and the World Percussion group would like to thank Sabian cymbals, Marimba One marimbas, Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, Remo drum heads, Tapspace Publications and the Pearl Drum Corporation for their support. We also thank the Percussive Arts Society for their partnership in making this ambitious dream a vivid reality.

Lynn Vartan - WPG Coach 2017
Percussionist Lynn Vartan is an international performer and educator who is an advocate for diversity in music. As a new music percussionist Lynn has worked with Michael Colgrass, Vinny Golia, Arthur Jarvinen, Ursula Oppens, Joan Tower, Glen Velez, Xtet, James Newton, Chinary Ung, the Hilliard Ensemble, the Tambuco Percussion Ensemble and Grammy Award-winning Southwest Chamber Music, and is known for her dynamic athleticism and exciting energy on stage. She has commissioned and/or performed countless new works for percussion by composers such as Donald Crockett, William Kraft, Steve Hoey, Veronika Krausas, Erica Muhl, Arthur Jarvinen, Sean Heim, Jeff Holmes, Keith Bradshaw and Shaun Naidoo.

As a recital soloist, Lynn has been featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, the Different Trains Series, at universities in residence all over the United States and on the Music at the Court series in Pasadena, California, where she produced her own solo percussion concerts. As a concerto soloist Lynn has performed with various orchestras including the Hubei Opera and Dance Company of Wuhan, China, the Sierra Wind Symphony, the Helena Symphony, The Orchestra of Southern Utah, Southwest Chamber Music, The Helena Symphony, as well as premiering new concertos by both American and Chinese composers. She has participated in cultural exchange projects such as the “Ascending Dragon” Project in Vietnam, “The Dream of Helen “project and China and the “East Meets West” project designed around her as a soloist in Wuhan, China for the Spring of 2014. As a recording artist, Lynn has appeared on the ECM New Series, Albany Records, Cuneifroms Records, Bridge Records, New World Records, Lian Recor ds, Yarlung Records and Cambria. She was three times Grammy nominated on the Cambria label with Southwest Chamber Music in the “Best Classical Album of the Year” and “Best Small Ensemble with or without a conductor” for The Complete Chamber Music of Charlos Chavez, Volume III and the for “Latin Classical Album of the Year” for William Kraft’s Complete Encounters Series.

A devoted ensemble musician, Lynn is the percussionist for Southwest Chamber Music, the violin/percussion duo 61/4 which she founded with Shalini Vijayan, and a duo percussion group Exacta that she formed with Tambuco’s Miguel Gonzalez. Lynn is currently the Director of Percussion at Southern Utah University. Lynn is endorsed by the Paiste Corporation, Remo Inc. and Marimba One.

Our inaugural 2016 tour was a huge hit! See where we went and who we took!!

World Percussion Group Tour Schedule USA Tour 2016

Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st February 2016

College of Southern Nevada - Las Vegas, Nevada (Training Venue No.1) 
Vegas! We are delighted that the College of Southern Nevada will host the WPG for 6 days in preparation for the US Tour Leg 1. Thank you to Bob Bonora for making this happen! An intense 5-day training camp. Preparation for the finale concert, solo concert, and all clinics will be prepared throughout the week. These sessions will also be recorded during the training camp.

Monday 22nd & Tuesday 23rd February 2016

Northern Arizona University - Flagstaff, Arizona
Our first residency will be in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona, where we will present an evening concert and clinics with the NAU Percussion Studio. Contact Steve Hemphill for more details on the event: Steven.Hemphill@nau.edu

Tuesday 23rd & Wednesday 24th February 2016

Southern Utah University - Cedar City, Utah
The second residency will be in Cedar City, Utah, near Zion National Park where we will present concerts, clinics, and a masterclass with their percussionists. Contact Lynn Vartan for more details on the event: lynn@lynnvartan.com

Friday 26th & Saturday 27th February 2016

Brigham Young University - Provo, Utah
A two day residency at BYU School of Music in Provo, Utah. Special thanks to Ron Brough for making the visit a reality! We look forward to bringing the World Percussion Group to your local community in Spring 2016! Please contact Ron Brough for more details of the event and to book tickets: ronald_brough@byu.edu

Sunday 28th February 2016

Colorado Mesa University - Grand Junction, Colorado
We will be making a brief visit in Grand Junction, Colorado, where we will present a masterclass and concert for the CMU Percussion Studio. Contact Darin Kamstra for more details on the event: dkamstra@coloradomesa.edu

Wednesday 2nd March & Thursday 3rd March 2016

Orchestral Outreach Project - Cedar Falls, Iowa
Maraca2 have teamed up with the University of Northern Iowa and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony. Maraca2 will perform a Concerto with the Orchestra and members of the WPG will be involved with education projects and performances in conjunction with the Orchestras education program. 

Friday 4th & Saturday 5th March 2016

University of Northern Iowa - Cedar Falls, Iowa
A two day residency at UNI. Thanks once again Randy Hogancamp for having us on campus. Also, thank you to Matt Andreini for arranging our visit. We are looking forward to another trip to Iowa. For more details on UNI events, please contact Matt Andreini: matt.andreini@uni.edu

Saturday 5th March 2016

Maraca2 Concerto - Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony - Cedar Falls, Iowa
Maraca2 will perform Avner Dorman's 'Spices, perfumes and toxins' with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony.

Monday 7th March 2016

University of Missouri - Columbia, Missouri
We are really looking forward to a one-day residency in Columbia, MO, to visit the Mizzou Percussion Studio. The University of Missouri has been a regular stop on Maraca2 tours over the past several years, and we're excited to return to this wonderful college town! Please contact Megan Arns for more details on this single-day event: ArnsM@missouri.edu

Wednesday 9th & Thursday 10th March 2016

University of Central Missouri - Warrensburg, Missouri
A two day residency at UCM. We look forward to visiting UCM for our 3rd residency there! The residency will culminate in a finale shocase concert in the UCM Concert Series. Please contact Scott Lubaroff for more details about the event: slubaroff@ucmo.edu. Thanks Scott for making this a reality.

Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th March 2016

University of Louisiana at Lafayette - Lafayette, Louisiana
A two day residency at UL. Thanks to Troy Breaux for arranging our visit! Looking forward to it already! Please contact Troy Breaux for more details on the event at tjb6611@louisiana.edu

Tuesday 15th to Saturday 19th March 2016

University of Texas at San Antonio - San Antonio, Texas (Training Venue No.2).
Delighted to be returning to the lively city of San Antonio! An intense 5-day training camp. Preparation for the finale concert, solo concert, and all clinics will be prepared throughout the week. These sessions will also be recorded during the training camp. Thanks to Sherry Rubins and Graeme Francis for your support and the loan of your studio! 

Sunday 20th March 2016

Tarleton State University - Stephenville, Texas
Our first residency of the second tour will be in Stephenville, Texas, where we will work with the percussion students at Tarleton State University. Contact Gary Westbrook for more details on the event: gwestbrook@tarleton.edu

Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd March 2016

Abilene Christian University - Abilene, Texas
A two day residency at ACU. We look forward to visiting ACU for our 3rd residency there! Please contact Allen Teel for more details about the event: teela@acu.edu. Thanks Allen for making this trip a reality!

 Wednesday 23rd & Thursday 24th March 2016 March 2016

University of Texas at San Antonio - San Antonio, Texas
Another two day residency at UTSA. We can't wait to come back to UTSA again for a couple of days clinics and concerts. Please contact Sherry Rubins or Graeme Francis for more details on the events: Sherry.Rubins@utsa.edu or gsfranci@gmail.com.

Thursday 31st to Saturday 2nd April 2016

Michigan State University - East Lansing, Michigan
We look forward to our first visit to Michigan State University with a two day residency. Thanks to Gwen Burgett for your support! For more details you can contact her at gdease@msu.edu.

Sunday 3rd & Monday 4th April 2016

Eastern Illinois University - Doudna Fine Arts Center - Charleston, Illinois 
A two day residency at EIC. Thank you to Dwight Vaught for organizing the events. You can contact him at ddvaught@eiu.edu for more details!

Friday 8th & Saturday 9th April 2016

Concordia College - Moorhead, Minnesota
Another two day residency! We look forward to visiting Minnesota and presenting the WPG at David Eyler's fantastic Percussion festival! Please contact David Eyler for more information. Thanks David for all your support: eyler@cord.edu.

Selected WPG 2016 Artists:

WPG Tour Manager - Jeff Hewitt (USA) 

Jeff Hewitt (D.M.A.) is a freelancing percussion educator and performer in Southern Arizona who has taught students at the collegiate, secondary, and elementary levels in Arizona and Kansas. He is also currently serving as the marketing, recruitment, and tour administrator for the World Percussion Group, a groundbreaking project directed by the Maraca2 ensemble. 

Hewitt’s current research focuses on the objective grading of four-mallet solo vibraphone literature, a project that has spawned an extensive database containing pieces organized by difficulty level. Recent solo and chamber ensemble performances include appearances at the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, the McCormick Marimba Festival, and various universities throughout the United States. He also recently presented at the 2015 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in San Antonio. 

His primary teachers have included Norman Weinberg, Julia Gaines, and Kurt Gartner. Hewitt earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona, a Master of Music degree from the University of Missouri, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Kansas State University. As an endorser of Vic Firth sticks and mallets, he is a member of their Young Artist Program and Education Team. Originally hailing from Overland Park, KS, Jeff currently resides in Tucson, AZ. 

Tour 1: 16th February - 13th March 2016 (Commencing Las Vegas, NV)


Soloist - Anders Elten (Denmark) 
Anders Kann Elten is a Danish percussionist specializing primarily in marimba. Being active both as a solo artist and as a chamber musician, he has performed in various European countries and also toured China with the group Percurama. Since 2010 he has been studying in Copenhagen with Professor Gert Mortensen and Johan Bridger at the Royal Danish Academy of Music while also attending masterclasses by renowned percussionists such as Eriko Daimo, Pius Cheung, and Nebojsa Zivkovic. 

In 2015 he won the 1st prizes in both the solo and the chamber music competition at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, received the “Grand Prize” at the ENKOR International Music Competition, and placed 3rd in the finals of the Universal Marimba Competition in Belgium, where he also received the Keiko Abe Honorary Award. He also had the honor of performing for the Danish queen during her state visit to Indonesia.  His repertoire spans from demanding adaptions of baroque and romantic music to contemporary works, including a few commissions of his own. In 2012 he established the percussion duo “Phantom Duo” with Polish percussionist Tomasz Szczepaniak, and together they have performed extensively at competitions and festivals in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Poland. Their repertoire includes cornerstone works in the modern percussion repertoire, their own adaptions of folk music from Denmark and Poland, and inventive transcriptions of classical music. 

Principal - Konstantyn Napolov (Ukraine)

Konstantyn Napolov (1987) graduated with his Bachelor degree in 2013 and Master diploma in 2015 cum laude in the percussion department of The Royal Conservatory at The Hague. He studied percussion instruments, educated by Fedor Teunisse, Luuk Nagtegaal, Marinus Komst, and Wim Vos at the Royal Conservatory at The Hague. Foregoing he has succeeded in getting his Bachelor and Master of Percussion and Conducting at the National Music Academy Kiev (Ukraine). With his Percussion-Trio Davai Perkusion, Konstantyn won the first prize during the Grachtenfestival Concours at Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam. Twice he ended up as a finalist of the Kamermuziek Concours Almere, IPC Luxembourg, won the first prize at 'Oh,Oh Intro' – popfestival The Hague. 

During his first year of Master, he was accepted to do his Erasmus-study at the conservatory with the oldest percussion traditions – Cité de la Musique et de la Danse Conservatoire de Strasbourg - educated by Emmanuel Séjourné, Denis Riedinger, and Stephan Fougeroux. Beside it he participated in several masterclasses by well-known percussionists like Peter Sadlo, Mark Pekarski, Christian Dierstein, Paul Mootz, Marta Klimasara, Robyn Schulkowsky, Isao Nakamura, and many others. Konstantyn is a great promoter of contemporary percussion. His repertoire includes a diversity of compositions by Telemann, Bach, Takemitsu, Xenakis, Martinciow, Sarhan, Padding, Boulez, Andriessen, Séjourné, and his own arrangements and pieces specially written for him. 

Till now he has premiered more than 10 new pieces. Together with Steve Reich, Kaija Saariaho, Martijn Padding, Unsuk Chin, John Luther Adams, and Philippe Manoury (in person), he is working on a solo and chamber music repertoire. Also he continued as a soloist, won several prizes, and took part in prestigious world-wide competitions, among other during the ARD IMC München, Tromp IMC Eindhoven, Dutch Classical Talent, and the Grachtenfestival Concours. In March 2015 he won two 1st Prizes at the International Music competition in Belgrade Serbia, as a soloist and with own Duo Delonix. 

For the summer of 2015 Konstantyn has been invited to participate in the masterclasses at the well-known Chosen Vale in America, for which he was granted the prestigious Colin Currie scholarship and masterclasses at New York's ' The Juilliard School ' and Boston Conservatory.  Since 2014 Konstantyn Napolov is Haupt-Pauker (principal-percussionist) at Mannheimer Philharmoniker (Germany).  Konstantyn is officially an Adams and Mike Balter Mallets artist. 

Ensemble and Duo Artist - Yves Popow (Luxembourg) 

Born in Luxembourg percussionist Yves Popow started his musical training at the capital city of Luxembourg and later went on to study at Codarts, Conservatory of Rotterdam where he received his Master of music in classical percussion in 2015. To augment his musical horizons, he also studied diverse styles of hand drumming among African, Latin, and Brazilian. 

As an active musician, Yves performs across the United States and Europe - including Spain, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Germany with various orchestras and ensembles among the Red Fish Blue Fish percussion ensemble, Sofia Soloists, European Union Youth Wind Orchestra, Residence Orchestra (The Hague), and the Youth Percussion Pool. He has had the pleasure of performing in a wide range of venues and events including the opening of the Philharmonic hall of Luxembourg, Sounds of Music Festival, as well as Holland Dance Festival, both in the Netherlands, March Music Days and Percussion Extravaganza – Rituals, both in Bulgaria. 

Yves is an enthusiastic chamber musician and performs regularly with different line-ups among the Rotterdam based contemporary Akom Ensemble, the Luxembourgian percussion quartet 4Given Rhythms, a collaboration of live electronics and improvised percussion called Beneath the Blanket, as well as the new children performances project BumTschak. 

Ensemble and Duo Artist - Gabriele Petracco (Italy) 

Born in Trieste, IT (1986), Gabriele showed an inclination for percussion instruments at a very early age. At the age of 7 he began to study the drums and soon pursued classical percussion training at the Conservatorium of his home town. 

In 2008 he graduated with full marks under professor Fabiàn Pèrez Tedesco, and in 2012, after an exchange period at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, Belgium, he earned the Master’s degree cum laude under the tutelage of professor Cinzia Honnorat. In this year, he decided to pursue his second masters degree abroad in the Netherlands. In 2014, Gabriele obtained his Master of Music in orchestral and contemporary percussion at the Codarts Hogeschool voor de Kunst in Rotterdam with some of the most celebrated percussionists at an international level, such as the brothers Chris & Hans Leenders, Murk Jiskoot, and Tatiana Koleva. 

He currently lives and works as a freelance musician in Rotterdam where he cooperates with the newly founded contemporary music ensemble Akom Ensemble, with the role of main percussionist and production assistant. He has also played with the Netherlands Youth Orchestra for three years in a row, the professional contemporary music ensemble Asko?Sh?enberg, and with professional classical orchestras such as the Nederlands Philarmonic Orkest, the Nederlands Kamerorkest, and the Slovenija Symphony Orchestra. He has also recorded for Channel Classics Records, Anteun Hoesen Recordings, the Dutch Radio “Max” and NPO4, the Dutch Television NPO, and the Radiotelevizija Slovenija RTV. 

Ensemble Member - Antoine Fatout (France) 
Berklee College of Music graduate Antoine Fatout is a highly respected and talented drummer whose dynamic style makes him a highly sought after collaborator in the jazz and Brazilian music scenes. A native of Le Havre, France, Antoine started his musical studies at the age of 8 in his hometown’s conservatory. He went on to study music professionally at the highly acclaimed conservatories of Paris and Rouen, where he obtained his “Diploma of Musical Studies” with honors in 2009. In France, he was also a student of the drummer and body rhythm innovator, Leon Parker. 

With a “European Tour” scholarship from the Berklee College of Music in 2010, Antoine was able to achieve his dream of coming to the US to study performance at the renowned school. With a focus on jazz and Brazilian music, he has studied with such prominent faculty as Ron Savage, Neal Smith, Mark Walker, Oscar Stagnaro, Alain Mallet, and Ed Saindon. During his time at Berklee, Antoine was the recipient of various distinctive awards: the “Vocation Prize” from the city of Le Havre (2012), the Avedis Zildjian PASIC 2013 Scholarship, and the Most Improved Drummer Award (2014) from Berklee. 

Antoine has played with Oscar Stagnaro, Alain Mallet, Leo Blanco, Marcus Santos, Fernando Brandao, Gilson Schachnik, and Fernando Huergo. Currently based in Columbus, OH, he performs regularly there as well as the Cleveland, Akron, and Pittsburgh areas. He is also very involved with the Afro-Brazilian percussion community of Grooversity. Antoine currently serves as an "Alumni Representative" for the Berklee College of Music, assisting in student recruitment as well as being the official rep at the annual PASIC convention. He also serves on the "PAS Web Content Sub-Commitee," working with the Percussive Arts Society to enhance the educational content of their website. 

Ensemble Member - Joe Porter (Canada) 

Joe Porter is a Canadian percussionist, teacher, and composer. He teaches at the University of Lethbridge Music Conservatory, where he directs many ensembles, world drumming classes, workshops, and lessons. Joe is the recipient of the Global Music Awards, Gold Medal Prize for Creativity and Originality, and has been a winner in multiple concerto and recording competitions. 

Joe is an active international clinician, and has given masterclasses and clinics around the world. Recent workshops have included: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Hong Kong Baptist University, Royal College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire in England, University of Hawaii, and the PAS Hong Kong & Alberta Chapters Day of Percussion. He is the author of two method books: Six-Mallet Technique Diversified, a comprehensive book and DVD to learn six-mallet marimba technique, and The Journey To Groove, a comprehensive method for developing the drum set musician. 

As an active composer and performer, Joe has written three percussion concertos, many solos, duets, and ensemble pieces. He has performed in Britain, Holland, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Hawaii, Florida, Indiana, Idaho, Trinidad and Tobago, and throughout Canada. In 2014, Joe was featured in the PASIC International Showcase Concert. Joe is a Ludwig-Musser, Innovative Percussion, Dream Cymbals & Gongs, and PARMA Recordings Artist. 

Ensemble Member - Shelby Blezinger-McCay (USA) 
Shelby is currently a percussion specialist with the L.D. Bell band cluster in Hurst, TX. While teaching, Shelby is a sought out free-lance percussionist within the Dallas/Fort Worth area performing with many community ensembles. She has recently graduated from the University of North Texas, in Denton, with a Master's in Percussion Performance. She has also received a bachelor's degree in music education from Auburn University with a minor in Percussion performance. 

Performing is her passion within the percussion world. She has been grateful to have competed/performed in multiple countries, including U.S.A, Poland, and China. Shelby has also become a semi-finalist within in the Great Plains International Marimba Competition, and the Drum Fest International Marimba Competition. Shelby has performed with Spirit Drum and Bugle Corps (2008/2009) and Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps (2011). Shelby has a wonderful husband, Seth, and two super crazy dogs, Pascal and Link! 

Ensemble Member - Jaime Esposito (USA) 

Jaime is currently in her second year at the University of North Texas working on a Masters Degree in Percussion Performance, where she also maintains responsibilities as a Teaching Fellow in the Percussion Studio. She received her Undergraduate Degree in Percussion Performance from Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music where she studied with She-e Wu, Christopher Lamb, and James Ross. Jaime teaches privately at three schools in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, consisting of 30 middle and high school students. 

In 2014, she won PASIC's Timpani Mock Audition. Internationally, Jaime competed in the 2014 Drum Fest International Marimba Competition in Poland. As an Orchestral Percussionist, Jaime is currently on the substitute list at the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra. During the summer, Jaime remains active developing her skills. Jaime was a participant in Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, North Carolina) for the Summer of 2013. Additionally, Jaime was invited to the United Kingdom to perform with the prestigious Britten-Pears Festival Orchestra during the summer of 2015. Jaime is proud to hold a Professional Membership with Percussive Arts Society. 

Ensemble Member - Darin Hunsinger (USA) 

Percussionist Darin Hunsinger is a passionate performer of contemporary music. Having grown up in rural Utah, Darin was influenced by the stark landscapes and remote life of the desert, developing his own style and individuality in performing, and is now known for his intensity, organic movement, and magnetism on stage. 

As an ensemble musician he has performed with the Texas Christian University Percussion Orchestra at PASIC, and also with the Southern Utah University Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, and Percussion Ensembles. As a touring musician, Darin has performed all over the United States, as well as in several parts of China as an orchestral and chamber musician. As a soloist he has been featured at Bryce Canyon on the “Music in the Parks Series,” at Southern Utah University Percussion Festivals, and with his self-produced solo concerts in various locations in Utah. Darin is active in commissioning new works for percussion and is currently working on a book for drum set and marimba duos for release next year.  

Darin has been the recipient of the Southern Utah University Performer of the Year award, along with numerous first prize awards from the Utah Day of Percussion Competitions. Darin received his Bachelor’s Degree at Southern Utah University where he studied with Dr. Lynn Vartan and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree at Texas Christian University under Dr. Brian West. 

Tour 2: 15th March - 9th April 2016 (Commencing San Antonio, TX)

Soloist - Le Yu (China) 

Born in China, Le began his percussion studies at the age of 14, and he entered Xi'an Conservatory of Music High School with Professor Liu Yaguang later in the year. In 2007 Le commenced his studies of Bmus (honours), MMus (distinction), and International Artist Diploma (IAD) at the Royal Northern College of Music with a full scholarship (sponsored by Yamaha). As the first solo IAD percussionist at RNCM, he has worked with Keiko Abe, Ian Wright, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Eric Sammut, Simone Rebello, Liz Gilliver, Paul Patrick, and Dave Hassell. 

Le has been invited to play for the British Royal Family at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London in 2012. He also has earned accolades in various international competitions, including the Winner of the 7th PAS Italy International Percussion Competition Marimba Category, 60th Royal Over-Seas League Competition, Park Lane Group New Year Young Artist Scheme at the SouthBank, London, Best Percussion Award of Brass in Concert, and Yamaha Music Foundation Europe Scholarship Award. While Le was a student at the RNCM, he won the Concerto Competition in 2007, 2011, 2014, and the first prize of Solo Percussion Competition in 2008 and 2013. He also has played in many festivals, concerts, and on the TV in the UK and internationally. 

Recently Le has been sponsored by the Arts Council England as an exceptional talent musician to work in the UK; he is also preparing his debut concerto performance with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra at the KKL in March 2016. Le is an Encore Mallets Artist, Sabian Artist, and Yamaha New Artist. 

Principal - Heigo Rosin (Estonia) 

Heigo Rosin (1989) is the first solo percussionist to emerge out of Estonia. Despite his young age he has appeared frequently as a soloist with numerous orchestras and solo recitals all over Europe. In 2015 Heigo was accepted into the Sponsorship Program of the Orpheum Foundation for the Advancement of Young Soloists. 

Heigo started his musical studies in the age of 4 on piano. He has two Bachelor and two Masters degrees in percussion (from Estonia and Belgium). Since Autumn 2014, Heigo has been studying at the Royal Academy of Music Aarhus/Aalborg in Prof. Henrik Knarborg Larsen’s percussion class to earn a soloist diploma. 

During his years of studies, Heigo has participated in numerous masterclasses of teachers and educators from all over the world. In addition he has had personal percussion sessions with the world famous solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. Heigo has been awarded through various competitions included the 1st Prize at the Contemporary Music Competition De Linkprijs in the Netherlands (2013), 1st Prize at the Yamaha Scholarship Competition for Percussion (2013), 2nd Prize at the Estonian TV competition “Classical Stars” (2013), and 1st Prize at the Estonian National Competition for Winds and Percussion in Tallinn (2012). 

Over ten years of karate practice has inspired Heigo to combine the movements of karate with his percussion playing. This unique aspect of his playing has given Heigo the nickname “Percussion Athlete” and makes his performances extraordinary not only to hear but to see.

Ensemble and Duo Artist - Jen-Ting Chien (Taiwan) 

Jen-Ting Chien is a percussionist who plays the marimba, drums, Latin percussion, multiple percussion, and traditional Chinese and Taiwanese percussion in Taiwan. Chien received a Master's degree in Percussion Performance from Taipei National University of Arts in 2012 . Chien is a member of the Twincussion percussion duo and the director of Punch Percussion Group. Chien started learning percussion at a very early age, specializing in all kind of drums. Chien has studied under Hong-Chi Ho, Shih-San Wu, Pei-Ching Wu, and Tzong-Ching Ju. 

While Chien was obtaining his Bachelor in Taipei University of Art (TNUA), he was also a member of the well-known Ju Percussion Group from 2005 to 2011, during which Chien developed much of his percussion performing skills and obtained teaching experience. He performed with Ju Percussion Group in Sacheon international percussion Festival in 2007, and various percussion ensemble concerts in Shanghai, Peking, Shenzhen from 2008 to 2010 with over 500 concerts in this period. 

After having graduated from TNUA, Chien soon entered Taipei National University of Art (TNUA) for pursuing a Master’s Degree. While studying at TNUA, Chien was dedicated to exploring the possibilities with percussion. While in school, he got first place of "Guandu Chamber Music Prize." He also cofounded Twincussion, a percussion duo previously known as Percatwins, attended the International Percussion Competition of Luxembourg representing Taiwan, and also took part in a few international academic exchange programs with the Peking Conservatory in China, Musashino Academia Musicae, and Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo. In 2014, Chien also got second place in the "International Southern California Marimba Competition." Chien is currently the member of Twincussion Percussion Duo, the Artistic Director in the Punch Percussion Group, and a devout in the percussion art. 

Ensemble and Duo Artist - Jen-Yu Chien (Taiwan)
Jen-Yu Chien is a percussionist who plays the marimba, drums, multiple percussion, and traditional Chinese and Taiwanese percussion in Taiwan. Chien received a Master's degree of Percussion Performance from Taipei National University of Arts in 2012 . Chien is a member of the Twincussion percussion duo and co-director of Punch Percussion Group. Chien started learning percussion at a very early age, specializing in marimba. Chien has studied under Hong-Chi Ho, Kwang-Yuan Kuo, Shih-San Wu, Pei-Ching Wu, and Tzong-Ching Ju. 

He is also a member of the well-known Ju Percussion Group from 2005 to 2011, during which Chien developed much of his percussion performing skills and obtained teaching experience. He performed with Ju Percussion Group in Sacheon international percussion Festival in 2007, and various percussion ensemble concerts in Shanhai, Peking, Shenzheg from 2008 to 2010. 

He also cofounded Twincussion, a percussion duo previously known as Percatwins, attended the International Percussion Competition of Luxembourg representing Taiwan, and also took part in a few international academic exchange programs with the Peking Conservatory in China, Musashino Academia Musicae, and Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo. In June 2014 Chien clinched the Collegiate Duo Grand Honorable Mention award (2nd Place) at the Southern California International Marimba Competition.

Ensemble Member - Manuel Estop (Spain / Tenerife) 

Manuel was born in Ávila (Spain) and he started his musical education when he was 8 years old at Conservatoire “Tomás Luis de Victoria”. This phase was difficult due to having many teachers, but the most important teacher was Luis Guzmán. He moved to Tenerife and he started his last four years at "Conservatorio Superior de Música de Canarias” with Mr. Paco Díaz as his teacher. He finished his studies with honors degree. 

He has participated in many concerts and tours as a soloist, chamber music or orchestral player, and he has been a part of many international courses and masterclass with many prestigious percussionists. In 2015 he won the second prize in the National Competition of Spanish Musical Youthness. As of today, he is planing many concerts around the world with his percussion duo, Barcodes. Currently, he is also a teacher in the music schools of El Tiemblo and San Ildefonso (Spain). Now Manuel has the delight to take part in the World Percussion Group.

Ensemble Member - Borja Sarrion (Spain) 

Borja Sarrión was born in Anna, Valencia, in 1993. He started to study percussion at the age of 6, in "E.M Anna," "CPM Maestro Ponce" in Chella, and "CPM Mestre Vert" in Carcaixent. When he was 19, he applied for Conservatorie Superior of Music 'Joaquín Rodrigo' in Valencia, where he is currently finishing his studies. In 2014/2015, he participated in a Erasmus programme in Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. 

He has played with several orchestras, such as "The World Orchestra," "JOGV (Generalitat Valenciana's young orchestra)," "OFUV (Universitat de València's Philharmonic Orchestra)," and the ensemble "Kromata". He is now teaching percussion in some music schools: "E.M Josep Rosell" in Sumacarcer, "E.M La Lira" in Villanueva de Castelló, "E.M Bicorp" or "E.M Quesa." He is a member of the "Valencia Brass Band."

Ensemble Member - Paul Chambers (USA) 

Paul Chambers is an educator and performer hailing from Kingston, NY. He is currently an adjunct professor and graduate assistant at The State University of New York at Fredonia where he is completing a Master’s degree in percussion performance. He also earned a Bachelor’s degree in music education from the same institution in 2013. 

He is well versed in a wide range of both western and world music styles. He has recently appeared with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, the Woodstock Playhouse pit orchestra, and the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. He has also participated in several excursions to Ghana, West Africa, to study traditional African music and has given numerous lectures and performances in various world music genres. 

Ensemble Member - Zujing Zhang (China) 
Zujing Zhang started to learn piano from the age of 4 and percussion from the age of 12. Since the age of 14 when he became the student of Mr. Ruwen Yang, the professor of Shanghai Conservatory of Music, he began his journey in the field of professional percussion. 

He was admitted in Shanghai Conservatory of Music with the highest score in the subject exam in 2005, and entered the graduate school of Shanghai Conservatory of Music with the full state sponsorship in 2009. 

In 2012, Zujing Zhang was hired as a percussion teacher of the Music College of Shanghai Normal University. In 2015, he was appointed as a Cadeson brand spokesperson.

Ensemble Member - Ryan Cullen (USA) 
Ryan Cullen is an aspiring percussionist in the New Jersey/Philadelphia region. Born and raised in South Brunswick NJ, he became interested in the drums around age 9. Ryan has always had a love for jazz and has been studying drum set since middle school. Soon enough music became the center of his life. Ryan just finished his degree in music education at Rowan University where he studied under Professors Dean Witten and Jim Miller. During his time at Rowan, Ryan has had the chance to perform in various ensembles and chamber groups. 

He was one of the concerto competition winners for the Orchestra and got to take part in a world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s “Like Clockwork.” Outside of the school, Ryan has performed with the Eagle Theater, The Atlantic Brass Band, and many jazz artists in the region including Malletech artist Behn Gillece. Ryan hopes to continue his studies and performances as a percussionist so he can one day bring a truly fulfilling education to his future students.