The Percussion Division at the University of Illinois School of Music has a long and distinguished history, from its origins in 1949 with Paul Price and the first University-accredited Percussion Ensemble in the world and continuing through the tenures of Jack McKenzie, Thomas Siwe, and Frederick Fairchild. At various times the home of Harry Partch, John Cage, and the Percussive Arts Society, the University of Illinois has played a significant role in the development and evolution of percussion education.
Our Percussion Division is dedicated to developing superb, versatile, and employable musicians through flexible, diverse, and rigorous curricula including solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoire, as well as jazz, commercial, and world music. Degrees offered in performance include the Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts. Performance and music education majors are held to similar technical and musical standards and have equal access to faculty, ensemble placement, practice facilities, and instruments.
Students have at their disposal a wealth of ensemble experiences: Percussion Ensemble; Steel Band; World Percussion Ensemble; orchestras; concert bands; Marching Illini; New Music Ensemble; jazz and Latin jazz bands; jazz combos; and ethnomusicology and Center for World Music ensembles, including Indonesian gamelans, West African drum ensembles, Zimbabwe mbira ensembles, and Balkan music ensembles.
The Illinois Percussion Division counts among its alumni a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, members of major U.S. symphony orchestras, and faculty members at universities across the country.