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Percussion Students Landing Major Performance Positions

Jiye OhThe percussion area at the Mary Pappert School of Music has been enjoying some well-deserved success with regard to preparing and placing students and alumni in major positions around the globe.

Most recently, Artist Diploma student, Jiye Oh, won a section percussion position with the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, South Korea. Auditions for the position were posted this past fall, and in order to be invited to perform a live audition, Jiye had to submit a pre-screening audition on DVD. Like many other percussion auditions, hers consisted of solos and orchestral excerpts on various percussion instruments, including timpani, marimba, and xylophone. This recording not only resulted in her being invited to the live audition, but ultimately landed her the position.

In addition to Jiye's success, five other students (now alumni), have won percussion positions in some of the finest professional organizations in the country:

Mike Kemp (B.M. Performance, 2010; M.M. Performance, 2014) - Principal Timpanist, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
Michael Culligan (B.S. Music Education, 2008) - Associate Principal Percussion, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Keith Williams (M.M. Performance, 2015) - Principal Percussion, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
David Reinecke (M.M. Performance, 2015) - Assistant Principal Percussion, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra
Joshua Dick (B.M. Performance, 2014) - United States Air Force Band 

Percussion Area Coordinator and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Principal Timpanist, Ed Stephan, speaks very highly of the students in his department.

"Nothing is more rewarding than experiencing one's students' successes with them. For better, for worse, it is an intense journey - helping a young musician prepare for a career in music performance, especially one as competitive and limited in opportunity as that of an aspiring orchestral musician. We've had an unusual number of successes in the past few years. Myself and the rest of the percussion faculty couldn't be happier with the hard work our students have demonstrated, and the rewards they've enjoyed as a result." 

Along with the jobs these students and alumni have won, many other current percussion students are seeing other sorts of success. Some have attended prestigious music festivals such as Tanglewood, National Repertory Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, and Music Academy of the West. Many are also regular substitutes for the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Rochester Philharmonic.

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