Ricardo FloresAssociate Professor of Percussion
BM (percussion performance), Corpus Christi State University; MM (percussion performance), University of Akron.
Artist, performer, and educator—Percussionist Ricardo Flores has been electrifying audiences for years playing classical percussion, drum set, and world percussion in orchestral, chamber, jazz, pop, Latin and many other musical settings. He joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000 where he holds the title of Associate Professor on the Percussion Faculty specializing in drum set and Latin percussion and directs the Steel Band / World Percussion Ensemble.
Flores has appeared with numerous groups and artists including the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, the Jack Shantz Jazz Unit, the Akron Symphony, the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, the Cleveland Ballet and Opera Orchestras, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Naples Philharmonic, the Symphony of Southwest Florida, the Florida Orchestra, Luciano Pavarotti, Aretha Franklin, Diane Shuur, Tony Bennett, Alex Acuña, Hal Linden, Mitzi Gaynor, Louie Bellson, Terry Gibbs, the Four Freshmen, Jiggs Whigham, Victor Mendoza, John Riley, Howard Johnson, Vernon Reid, John Faddis and Peter Erskine.
Currently Principal Percussionist of the Champaign-Urbana Symphony and the Sinfonia da Camera, Ricardo also plays drums and Latin percussion with various jazz groups throughout the Midwest. He has presented concerts, clinics and master classes throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, China and South America at such venues as the Eastman School of Music, Northwestern University, The Florida State University, the Hartt School of Music, the 2005 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Columbus, OH, the 2005 Tri-C Jazz Festival in Cleveland, the 2008 International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in Toronto, the Sichuan and the Wuhan Conservatories and the Second Dalian International Broadcasting Music Festival (China), the Sixth International Percussion Forum in Zagan, Poland, the 2nd International Congress of Percussion and the Crossdrumming Festival in Jelenia Gora and Warsaw, Poland and the Fourth Patagonian Percussion Festival in Argentina. In 2006 he performed on the Carnegie Hall stage as a soloist with the University of Illinois Wind Symphony.
Ricardo can be heard on recordings with performers such as Arturo Sandoval, Dan Wall, Kenny Anderson, Chip Stevens, the Jack Shantz Jazz Unit, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and Sinfornia da Camera. He is former President of the Illinois Chapter of The Percussive Arts Society and serves on the PAS Drum Set Committee.
In the Percussion Division, students have the opportunity to study with both my colleague, William Moersch, and myself. This not only exposes them to two different teaching styles but also allows them to take advantage of our areas of specialization; hand drums and drum set in my case. I strive to give each student the means by which they can eventually teach themselves. I want them to learn how to think on their own, through honest assessment and specific questioning. I try to nurture each student's exploration and discovery of their unique musical voice. To this end, I do focus on rudimentary technical skills as needed, and prescribe exercises, Ètudes and pieces to expose students to the widest possible musical vocabulary. Because my background is diverse, and in percussion, there are so many different instruments to learn, I encourage all of my students to become familiar with as many different styles of music as possible.