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Department of Music

Mark Berry

Mark Berry


Mark Berry is Associate Professor of Percussion at Western Kentucky University. He is Principal Timpanist with Orchestra Kentucky, a position he has held since 2002. As timpanist and percussionist, he has performed with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Cleveland Baroque Ensemble, the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, the Owensboro Symphony, the Cantari Singers of Columbus, the Great Lakes Symphony Orchestra, the Westerville Symphony, the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, and the Adrian Symphony Orchestra. Prior to coming to Western Kentucky University, Dr. Berry taught percussion at West Virginia University and the University of Michigan, Flint.

Dr. Berry’s new solo percussion CD entitled, “DIMENSION – Mark Berry, Percussion” was recently released on the Equilibrium label. In a chamber music setting, Dr. Berry's percussion playing can be heard on several recordings on the Equilibrium label, as well as the Centaur label. His research has been published by Percussive Notes, the journal of the Percussive Arts Society in an article entitled, “Thirteen Drums, Op. 66: Interpreting in Concurrence with Maki Ishii’s “Space-Time” Concept.” His percussion compositions are published by C-Alan Publications, HoneyRock Publishing, and Tapspace Publications.

Dr. Berry is a founding member of the cello / percussion duo, Col Legno. Col Legno has received grant funding through the Kentucky Arts Council, and is dedicated to exploring both existing and new repertoire for this unique combination. The duo recently premiered Dr. Berry’s composition, “Heliospheric II for violoncello and vibraphone” at the Hawaii International Conference on the Arts and Humanities.

Dr. Berry's performance interests lie not only in symphonic genres, but in other areas as well including Caribbean styles (steel pan), jazz percussion, and electro-acoustic percussion,. His steel band arrangements have been premiered at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.. He currently plays both drumset, and his Ellie Mannette Signature Series pan with the Western Kentucky Faculty Jazz Quintet. An avid proponent of digital percussion music, Dr. Berry has written, programmed, and performed original works for both percussion ensemble and steelpan that explore electro-acoustic soundscapes.

Through a grant award from the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education, Dr. Berry founded the WKU Steelband in 2004. In 2008, he was recognized as the TDKMEA “College/University Teacher of Year.” Dr. Berry has served as percussion writer, arranger, instructor, adjudicator, and consultant with many high school marching band programs throughout the Midwest.

Dr. Berry has earned degrees from the University of Michigan (DMA, MM) as well as from The Ohio State University (BMusEd). His principal teachers include Michael Udow and Salvatore Rabbio, with additional studies with Julie Spencer, Ted Piltzecker, Fernando Meza, and James L. Moore.

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 Last Modified 5/30/18