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Percussion Ensembles

All percussion majors in UMass Amherst are assigned to UMass Percussion Ensemble, UMass Advanced Chamber Percussion Ensemble, or UMass Marimbas. Non-percussion majors from UMass and students from the Five Colleges are welcome to attend by audition at the beginning of each semester, scheduled by appointment.

All UMass percussion ensembles appear in concert on campus several times a year. Ensembles also perform off-campus at area special events and school outreach concerts.

For percussion majors, participation in these ensembles is expected in as many semesters as possible in order for the student to acquaint him or herself with diverse genres, techniques, group rehearsals, improvisation, communication and collaboration. In addition to musical preparation, these ensembles are an opportunity for percussionists to practice professional conduct, including complete preparation, attendance and attitude in rehearsals, and being flexible and cooperative with scheduling and other business.

Percussion excerpts for Orchestra/Wind Ensemble/Symphony Band auditions, Fall 2017: Please see the Wind Ensembles webpage

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                                Advanced Chamber Percussion Ensemble
                                UMass Marimbas

Percussion Ensemble

PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE    (To audition, please contact Prof. Kataoka)
Ayano Kataoka, director
Rehearsals: 12:10-2:15 PM on Thursdays, Room 36

UMass Percussion Ensemble provides the student with the opportunity to perform and become familiar with the ever-growing percussion ensemble repertoire from the 20th century to the present. The ensemble covers vast literature from Ionisation by Varese to Pleiades by Xenakis, and often collaborates with other instrumentalists (piano, strings, wood winds, brass, and voice) to perform works by Antheil, Reich, Crumb, among others.

Every percussion student who is enrolled in applied lessons is expected to participate in Percussion Ensemble each semester in order to expose him or herself to the dynamic literature and to develop ensemble skills to a professional level. Through familiarization with the processes of independent preparation and rehearsals, the goal of the ensemble is successful performances at the assigned opportunities such as UMass Percussion Ensemble Concert at the end of each semester, Tuesday morning student recitals, and off-campus performances.

Ayano Kataoka, director
Rehearsals: 12:15-2:20 PM on Fridays, Room 36

UMass Advanced Chamber Percussion Ensemble focuses on smaller chamber ensembles than the UMass Percussion Ensemble, and intricate contemporary works, theatrical music, music with live electronics, and newly commissioned works for both percussion and mixed ensembles. In addition to two concerts per year with creative programs in Bezanson Recital Hall, the ensemble has received opportunities to perform at festivals and art museums, and has been hailed for its “extraordinary level of performance,” and called “the very finest of any university percussion group in North America, or for that matter internationally.”


MASS Marimba Band

Thomas Hannum, director
Rehearsals: 12:10-2:15 PM on Tuesdays
UMass Marimbas offers any student who shows ability and desire to perform on percussion instruments the opportunity to explore classical and pop transcriptions as well as literature for keyboard ensembles. UMass Marimbas typically takes shape as two independently operating ensembles:
UMass Marimba Ensemble
The ensemble is a select group of students who perform the classic ragtime arrangements of Green, Breuer, Joplin and others as well as classical and folk transcriptions in fall semester. The ensemble often performs original contemporary works for marimba and keyboard ensembles, determined by its members’ skill.

MASS Marimba Band
MASS Marimba Band is an evolution of the “popular” music side of the marimba ensemble.  The instrumentation is expanded to include vibraphones and a rhythm section including drum set, percussion and bass.  The repertoire includes jazz, latin/afro-cuban, and pop songs arranged for the specific instrumentation. Students also write and/or arrange tunes. No previous band experience is necessary, however, good musical time with a natural ability to “groove” and knowledge of note reading, scales, and chords is necessary.

To audition for UMass Marimbas, please contact Prof. Hannum.

Dance Department