William Moersch

Professor and Chair of Percussion

B.M. (magna cum laude) and M.M. (Percussion Performance), University of Michigan.

William Moersch is internationally renowned as a marimba virtuoso, chamber and symphonic percussionist, recording artist, and educator. He has appeared as soloist with symphonic orchestras and in recital throughout North and South America, Europe, the Far East, and Australia. A regularly featured artist at international percussion festivals, he has performed on more than seventy recordings and is perhaps best known for commissioning over the past thirty-five years much of the prominent modern repertoire for marimba, from composers including Irwin Bazelon, Richard Rodney Bennett, Martin Bresnick, Jacob Druckman, Eric Ewazen, David Lang, Paul Lansky, Libby Larsen, Steven Mackey, Akemi Naito, Roger Reynolds, Gunther Schuller, Joseph Schwantner, John Serry, Andrew Thomas, Alejandro Viñao, James Wood, and Charles Wuorinen. In addition, he was the first marimbist ever to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowship and has also been honored by NEA Recording and Consortium Commissioning grants.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Illinois in 1998, Mr. Moersch was a free-lance musician in New York City for over two decades. He performed with the American Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, New Jersey Symphony, New York Chamber Symphony, New York City Opera, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, as a featured soloist in the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance, and on numerous motion picture soundtracks. Mr. Moersch also created graduate degree programs in marimba performance at the Peabody Conservatory and Rutgers University and has presented master classes throughout the world. Currently, he is Principal Timpanist of Sinfonia da Camera and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, and Artistic Director of New Music Marimba.

William Moersch is an Artist Endorser for Pearl Drums / Adams Percussion, SABIAN cymbals, Grover Pro Percussion, and Innovative Percussion mallets.

Teaching Philosophy

In my role as a performer and teacher, allied with a strong commitment to the commissioning and performance of new repertoire, I view my position in the School of Music as a unique one. I bring to my teaching nearly forty years of experience performing internationally as a soloist and with important orchestras and chamber ensembles across the globe. I have collaborated with musicians, dancers, actors, and composers in a variety of genres and performance venues. My primary responsibility as a teacher is to distill this experience and provide my students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and inspiration so that they may reach their full potential as musicians and teachers. Key to the student’s development is a mastery of the technical aspects of performance, an understanding of stylistic vocabulary and musical structure, a concept of sound quality, the ability to listen critically, and the capability to make intelligent artistic choices. I present these musical concepts to my students through a comprehensive curriculum plan.

My goal at Illinois is to make our percussion graduates versatile artists of the highest caliber, with experience across the full range of instruments and musical styles, and the ability to capitalize on whatever opportunities may come their way. Equally important, they will also have the skills and training to create their own opportunities and become leaders in the ever-expanding musical world.





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