The World Percussion Group

Assembling the world’s elite

Artistic Director: Tim Palmer (Maraca2 Percussion Duo)
Tim Palmer
(WPG Artistic Director, Maraca2 Percussion Duo)

Tim began his Percussion studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire in 2000. He graduated with a 1st class BMus(Hons) and AdvPgdip with Distinction in 2006. Upon leaving the Conservatoire, he was awarded an Honorary Member of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (HonBC).

Tim is widely recognised for his activities as half of the Maraca2 Percussion Duo. Since it’s inception in 2003, the group have toured the globe and have headlined at many of the World's prestigious festivals. In 2006, the group opened and performed the Opening Ceremony of the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham. They have performed as an evening headline act as part of the PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention) in Indianapolis, 2013 and have visited over 60 Universities and Conservatoires worldwide.

Maraca2 have recently become active as Soloists with Orchestras and have just performed their first Percussion Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. They also appeared as Soloists with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pascal Rophé in 2019.

Tim has played an active role in music around Birmingham and has performed with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the Royal Shakespeare Company. With these groups he has performed at the Barbican, BBC Proms (Royal Albert Hall), Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Snape Maltings. He was a percussion adjudicator for the BBC Young Musician of the Year, 2016 and is a former Percussive Arts Society UK Chapter President.

Following the success of Maraca2's World Percussion Group, Tim now steers the ensemble forward as Artistic Director.

Edward Ault (UK)
(WPG Assistant Manager - Internship)

Edward joins WPG 2021 as Assistant Manager. Tasks will include contacting Conservatoires to negotiate daily schedules, arranging transport and meals throughout the tour, connecting with selected WPG Artists in the lead up to the tour with repertoire materials, tour details and general support and advice. Edward also leads the audition process, correlating audition feedback and sending out final results. Edward can be contacted at: WPGAssistantManager@gmail.com

Edward is currently completing his final year of study at the University of Birmingham where he is majoring in solo performance on percussion under the tuition of Tim Palmer and Andy Herbert. His love of live music developed whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department and recent highlights include performances of the Rite of Spring and Shostakovich 7 with the CBSO Youth Orchestra.

Edward’s interest in arts management began when he was given the opportunity to shadow the Orchestra Manager of English National Opera, and since then he has worked for several arts organisations. Currently Edward is one of thirteen CBSO Youth Ambassadors who are programming, organising, presenting and marketing a main season 2020 CBSO concert. For the last two summers Edward has worked at Dartington International Summer School and Festival where he has assisted numerous artists and in 2019 he volunteered at Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

At University Edward was manager of UoB’s Brass Band, a role that involved managing sixty musicians and the administration of various events including the band’s visit to the annual UniBrass competition, an American football game, Christmas fairs and termly concerts. He was also Festival Administrator for UoB’s two week Summer Festival of Music in 2019. Edward is extremely passionate about the processes of creating and developing collaborative events in the arts and is excited to be working with World Percussion Group as it’s Assistant Manager.

Johan Bridger (Sweden)
(Head WPG Coach 2021)

Johan joins the WPG to enhance the development of the selected ensemble. Johan's role will include an intensive training schedule in the UK at the beginning of the tour. This will include supporting the preparation of performances, clinics and masterclasses. We are delighted that he has joined WPG as Head Coach!

“For his intense personal expression, brilliant technical mastery and overpowering stage presence.” Thus read the judges’ citation for the percussionist and marimba artist Johan Bridger as he received the 2004 Swedish Soloist’s Prize. In the same year he managed to win 1st prize in the Belgium International Marimba Duo Competition and make a grandiose debut at both the Wigmore Hall in London and PASIC in the US. Since then Bridger has given numerous critically praised performances, both nationwide and internationally; throughout Europe, in Russia, Japan and the US.

Bridger has performed at major venues, such as La Biennale di Venezia, Mariinsky Theatre and Carnegie Hall and collaborated with internationally acclaimed artists including Thomas Søndergård, Mats Rondin, Eva Ollikainen, Hans Pålsson, Per Tengstrand, Hugo Ticciati, Urban Agnas and Håkan Hardenberger. He has also made several appearances as a soloist on Swedish Radio’s classical music station and on Swedish Television.

Born in Sweden 1976, Johan Bridger received his education from Malmö Academy of Music and Northwestern University in Chicago. His principal teachers were Lennart Gruvstedt, Leigh Howard Stevens and Professor Michael Burritt. As a true percussion virtuoso, Bridger embraces – and masters – an extensive repertoire, from J.S. Bach to contemporary and new music and is privileged to premier works by leading composers, such as Alejandro Vinao, Pius Cheung, Marcin Blazewitz, Daniel Börtz, Staffan Storm and Tobias Broström.

In addition to his own ceaseless exploration of the marimba and the overall percussionist’s world, Bridger seeks to inspire others by giving both lectures and master classes, in Sweden and abroad. He also teaches at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Odense, The Malmö Academy of Music and Sundsgarden School of Music.

Anders Kann Elten (Denmark) - WPG 2016 Soloist
(WPG Performance Class Coach - Royal Academy of Music, Copenhagen, Denmark - Thursday 16th September 2021)

We welcome back the return of Anders Kann Elten! WPG Artists not delivering clinics in Copenhagen will have the opportunity to work alongside WPG's first Soloist (2016) in an open performance class, offering a new opportunity to share musical ideas and concepts. 

Danish marimbist Anders Elten is fiercely devoted to the dissemination of the marimba as a modern concert instrument. Active as a soloist and chamber musician, he has performed extensively in Europe and the United States and toured Asia with the Percurama percussion ensemble.

He is the winner of several major music competitions: Among others, the ‘Grand Prize’ at the Enkor Music Competition in Germany, the first prize in the prestigious annual soloist competition at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, as well as the third prize and the ‘Keiko Abe Honorary Award’ in the Universal Marimba Competition in Belgium – one of the biggest marimba competitions in the world. In 2016 he joined the “World Percussion Group” ensemble as the soloist and toured the U.S. playing a multitude of solo and ensemble concerts at various universities.

In the fall of 2016, the World Percussion Group was featured in a showcase concert at “PASIC” (Percussive Arts Society International Convention). He is currently teaching marimba at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, and at the same time preparing his debut concert from the soloist class.

Heigo Rosin (Estonia) - WPG 2016 Principal
(WPG Performance Class Coach - Estonian Academy of Music & Theatre, Tallinn, Estonia - Monday 13th September 2021)

We also welcome back the return of Heigo Rosin! WPG Artists not delivering clinics in Tallinn, will have the opportunity to work alongside WPG's first Principal (2016) in an open performance class, offering a new opportunity to share musical ideas and concepts. 

Heigo Rosin (1989) is the first solo percussionist to emerge out of Estonia. He has appeared frequently as a soloist with numerous orchestras and solo recitals in all over the Europe and the USA. In 2015 Heigo was accepted into the Sponsorship Program of the Orpheum Foundation for the Advancement of Young Soloists. In the same year Heigo was also selected as principal percussionist to the World Percussion Group tour in the USA. In January 2017 he made his solo debut in New York in Carnegie Hall. Since 2016,

Heigo is endorsed by Malletech Instruments and Sabian Cymbals. Since 2017 Heigo is the head of Percussion department in Heino Eller Tartu Music College. As a renowned soloist he has worked with numerous orchestras included MDR Leipzig Symphony Orchestra, Riga Sinfonietta, Kiev Soloists, Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra, Belarusian State Symphony Orchestra, Baltic Sea Philharmonic, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Vanemuine Symphony Orchestra, collaborating with world class conductors like Kristjan Järvi, Risto Joost, Olari Elts, Erki Pehk and Paul Mägi. Heigo Rosin started his musical studies in the age of 4 on piano. For now he owns two Bachelor and two Masters degrees in percussion (from Estonia and Belgium) and postgraduate soloist diploma from Denmark. During his years of studies Heigo has participated in numerous master classes of teachers and educators from all over the world. In addition to that he has had personal percussion sessions with the world famous solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

Heigo has been awarded through various competitions included the 2nd Prize at the Rising Stars Grand Prix in Berlin, 1st Prize at the Contemporary Music Competition De Linkprijs in the Netherlands, 1st Prize at the Yamaha Scholarship Competition for Percussion, 2nd Prize at the Estonian TV competition “Classical Stars”. 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 a nickname: “The Karate Kid of Percussion” and makes his performances extraordinary not only to hear but to see.

The World Percussion Group

The World Percussion Group represents one 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."

Since its inception, the WPG has traveled some 30 thousand miles, presented some 35 residencies, showcased over 40 International Artists, received over 2 million video views online and received 4 thousand shares on Social media. Tours include extensive trips across the USA, Baltic Capitals and Europe. In 2021 Tim Palmer will continue to steer the WPG onto it's next tour to the Baltics as Artistic Director!

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 reality.

Check out our amazing list of selected 2019 Artists.

WPG European Tour 2019 Artists

Soloist: Alexander Smith

Alexander Montgomery Smith is a performing artist, educator, and artistic director who maintains an active career in musical performance and artistic collaboration. Alexander has performed in many ensemble and solo settings around the world, including The Netherlands, China, Mongolia, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and across the United States. Alexander has been selected twice to perform in the the world largest international percussion competition, TROMP, in 2016 and 2018. His repertoire ranges from 20th century master works such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis to the performance and advocacy of contemporary composers such as Cathy van Eck, Simon Løffler, and Per Bloland. Alexander holds a B.M. in Performance from the University of Kentucky, of which he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and an M.M. from the University of Tennessee. He is currently pursuing a M.A. in Contemporary Arts Practice at the Hochschule der Künste Bern, Switzerland, where he is actively collaborating and performing with numerous ensembles and performers both locally and internationally. Alexander has earned numerous honors and awards for artistic interpretation and performance, and has also been sponsored by the “miniMAX” Foundational Support for Artistic Development. Focusing on interdisciplinary and multimedia projects, Alexander continues to pursue the forefront of contemporary art through his experimental approach to the interpretation and performance.

Co-Principal: Ksenija Komljenovic (Serbia)

Dr. Ksenija Komljenovic (Belgrade, Serbia) is an award-winning percussionist and composer. Throughout her versatile career, she has studied, performed, and taught across Europe, the United States, and Asia. Ksenija is the first woman from Serbia with a Doctor of Musical Arts in Percussion Degree.

She is a recipient of numerous academic honors and fellowships, including the American Association of University Women International Fellowship, P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship, and USAID’s Forecast Exchange Program. In 2018, she was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Award by the Frost School of Music.

Ksenija’s devotion to percussion is shaped through her advocacy for contemporary music and intercultural collaboration. Her initiative and efforts resulted in several pioneering cultural-exchange projects between the U.S. and her home country. Some of those include the first drum line camp and the first contemporary percussion workshop in Serbia.  As a co-founder of the Balkan Percussion Duo, she won the Second Prize at the International Percussion Competition Luxembourg in 2018. Her compositions and arrangements for duo are published by Bachovich Music Publications.

Ksenija is a public speaker, fervently communicating about the importance of education for the underprivileged, cross-cultural understanding, and equality.

Co-Principal: Jonas Thygesen (Denmark)

Danish percussionist Jonas Thygesen is a devoted musician with a passion for colors, sounds and rhythms. With a refined technique and a deep respect for expression, he explores the world—the ethereal realm—of contemporary music. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has performed both in Denmark and abroad, including several world premieres. He is currently studying in the soloist class at the Danish National Academy of Music with Søren Monrad, Johan Bridger and Christian Martinez.

Ensemble Members

Christina Cheon (South Korea / USA)

Christina Cheon is an active musician based in Orange County, CA. She has won first prize in several competitions such as the 2014 Sigma Alpha Iota Instrumental Competition and the 2009 Southern California International Marimba Competition. She has performed as a guest artist for the 2018 Lansum International Music Festival and the 2015 Zeltsman Marimba Festival, among others. She is the founder and artistic director of Southern California Marimba (SCM), a non-profit organization that produces concerts, educational outreach programs, and other activities within the local community. She is proud to endorse Marimba One as an Educational Artist.

Chase Banks (USA)

Chase Banks is a classically trained percussionist based in Columbia, SC. Chase graduated with a Master of Music Degree from USC in 2018 studying under Dr. Scott Herring. As a performer, Chase has played with many chamber ensembles and orchestras in the Southeast including the South Carolina Philharmonic, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, and the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, Chase won the USC Concerto Competition performing Ney Rosauro's Concerto for Vibraphone. Chase holds a position on the PAS Music Technology Committee and has a video series with Peter Soroka on percussion and technology called “Tech Scene” published by Rhythm Scene!

Cheng Mei Kwan, Emily (Hong Kong)

Cheng Mei Kwan, Emily completed her Bachelor of Music (Honours) with First-class Honours and Master of Music with Distinction at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She won the HKAPA Concerto Trial in 2013.

She was twice successful in her auditions for the Asian Youth Orchestra, completing consecutive summer tours in Asia. In 2014, she was the first female drummer collaborating with the Hofesh Shechter Company and garnered praise for her performance in “Political Mother” in the New Vision Arts Festival. She took part in the Philharmonia APA performance with Vienna Boys’ Choir in Vienna.

She is actively involved in professional ensemble performance, and is a freelance percussionist in the Hong Kong Philharmonic etc. In 2012, she formed a percussion duo “RE?MIX”, which was invited to perform in Taiwan, Shanghai and Macau. She is also a member of Four Gig Heads, an innovative local percussion ensemble merging Chinese and Western instruments and performance styles.

She is currently coach of Percussion Ensemble of HKAPA Junior Programme.

Eugene Kwong (Hong Kong)

Currently a master student at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Eugene Kwong is studying percussion performance with Aziz D. Barnard Luce, James Boznos and Matthew Lau under the full financial support of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund. As a former member of Asian Youth Orchestra 2015-2017, she went on a world tour with the orchestra in 2017 and performed in Ravello Festival, Young Euro Classic Festival and Lucerne Festival. She joined IKMMA 2017. She participated in the masterclasses of Rainer Seegers, Christopher Deviney, Li Biao and Pius Cheung.

Kwong is a freelance percussionist of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Bryce Turner (USA)

Bryce Turner is an American percussionist based out of San Antonio, Texas. He received his dual Bachelor of Music degrees in music education and percussion performance from Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX where he studied under Adam Bedell. He is currently completing his Master of Music degree at Baylor University in Waco, TX where he studies percussion performance and literature with Dr. Todd Meehan and Chris Sies and serves as the percussion studio’s teaching assistant. As a soloist, Bryce made his Carnegie Hall debut in May of 2018, and as an ensemble musician, has appeared in numerous groups, such as the Mid-Texas Symphony, Waco Symphony, TLU Percussion Studio, and Baylor Percussion Group.

Alissa Teachout (USA)

Alissa Teachout received her Master’s degree in Percussion Performance from The Ohio State University in 2011 and Bachelor’s from Utah State University in 2007. Since graduating, she teaches general music to elementary school students ages 5-11 and incorporates the use of percussion in her teaching. She enjoys the fresh perspective students bring.  “I love that I get to experience different kinds of music for the first time through their ears.”  She currently performs with a variety of community ensembles including the Reno Wind Symphony, Sierra Highlander Pipe Band, and a vocal/percussion duo, Double AA, with her husband, Adam.

Nezka Prosenjak (Slovenia)

Nezka Prosenjak is a slovenian percussionist, currently finishing her Bachelor studies at University of music and perfoming arts Graz in the class of Ulrike Stadler. She participated in various national and international competitions, where she always achieved good results. (Italy PAS, Marimba Festiva Bamberg,...). She performed solo concerts for marimba with Slovenian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Slovenian Armed Forces Orchestra. Her experiences also include 2 years as a full time percussionist in Slovene National Theatre Maribor. During last few years she took part in different courses led by internationally known artists (Katarzyna Mycka, Theodor Milkov, Alexey Gersassimez…).

William Brown (USA)

William Brown is a percussionist at the University of South Florida studying with Bob McCormick. As a soloist, William has won the New York International Marimba Competition, placed second at the Bamberg Marimba Festival, and received second prize at the Great Plains International Marimba Competition. He was selected to be the Teaching Assistant at the Brevard Music Center in 2018, where he was a featured soloist and principal percussionist. An active orchestral player, he is a section percussionist of the Venice, FL Symphony, is scheduled to play with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and is principal of the USF Symphony Orchestra.

Antoine Fatout (France)

Antoine Fatout is in great demand as a gifted drummer and a talented collaborator in the jazz and Brazilian music scenes.  Born in Le Havre, France, he began his musical studies at the age of 8. In addition to attending prestigious conservatories in both Rouen and Paris, Antoine excelled at Boston’s outstanding Berklee College of Music. In 2016, he was invited to join the renowned World Percussion Group. In this role, he visited a host of American universities, delighting audiences with his virtuosity, and teaching master classes about Brazilian music. Antoine has established a stellar reputation throughout the world. At Fa2 Drum Studio, the school that he founded and still directs, he instructs aspiring drummers of all ages. 

Ng Chin Pok Bevis (Hong Kong)

Ng Chin Pok Bevis started learning percussion at a young age, under the tutelage of Margie Tong. With full support from the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund, He is currently in the Bachelor of Music (Hons.) at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, majoring with western percussion. His teachers include the renowned percussionist Dr. Heung Wing Lung, Dr. Matthew Lau and James Boznos, principal timpanist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.  Bevis has won various international and local music competitions. He is one of the winner of the concerto trial in the Academy and has performed "Concerto for Marimba and Strings" by Emmanuel Sejourne with the Academy Symphony Orchestra at 2018/ In September 2017, he won the first prize in Marimba Category A in the Hong Kong-Macau-Taiwan regional percussion competition organized by International Percussion Education Association. Bevis is one of the member in The Up:Strike Project, an emerging chamber group in Hong Kong.

Chen Yi (Taiwan)

Chen Yi was born in Changhua, Taiwan. He began to study piano at age four and percussion at age seven. He entered the “gifted music class” during junior high school participating in solo juries, chamber music, concert band and the Ju Percussion Camp in 2006 and 2007. Chen Yi’s high school life followed the same course of continued musical studies with the additional of orchestra. Aside from his school activities, Chen Yi has been active in competitions and various musical activities. In 2009 he won first prize at the Taiwan Music Competition for marimba performance and joined the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra academy(2009 and 2010). In 2010 he won 3rd prize performing a marimba concerto with piano at the National Student Competition of Music and also joined the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra academy. During the summer of 2011 he attended the Ju Percussion academy and won the opportunity to perform a duet with guest professor and performer, Gordon Stout. Chen Yi has been attending the Taipei National University of the Arts for the past four years studying with Associate Professor Jer-Huei Chen and Sarah Barnes-Tsai. He will graduate in June, 2016. Now he studies on the masters degree in Haute école de musique de Genève. During his study he had countless performance experiences with large ensembles such as percussion ensemble, symphony orchestra, concert band and steel band. Chen Yi also had innumerable chamber and small ensemble training by assisting classmates for new compositions or for percussion ensemble accompaniment for solo features. Chen Yi was also active outside school working with both the HanJi Quartet and Ensemble1002 “E1002”. In 2015 he and the members of the Ensemble1002- HanJi won third prize at the International Percussion Competition Luxemburg. The same year he had performances for the Music Plus—Collections at the Taiwan National Experimental Theater with “E1002” percussion group and with the HanJi Quartet, a commemorative concert in honor of George Crumb’s 86th birthday held in the concert hall at Soochow University. In 2014 he had been a guest performer with the National Symphony Orchestra from Taiwan. 

Check out our amazing list of selected 2017 Artists.