New York University’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions has appointed timpanist/percussionist Jonathan Haas as acting director of Classical Percussion Performance. An internationally renowned musician, Haas will introduce a first-of-its-kind program that includes in-depth theatrical percussion studies, the first modern-day Timpani Guild, and an innovative classical percussion program.
Haas’s successful efforts to expand the timpani repertoire have led him to commission and premiere more than 25 works by composers including Philip Glass, Stephen Albert, Marius Constant, Irwin Bazelon, Eric Ewazen, Thomas Hamilton, Robert Hall Lewis, Jean Piche, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Andrew Thomas. In January 2004, Haas will be recording Philip Glass’s “Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra” with Evelyn Glennie and the Liverpool Philharmonic, a piece commissioned for Haas and which he has performed throughout the world to great acclaim.
Lauded by the New York Times as a “masterful young percussionist,” and by Ovation magazine as “the Paganini of the timpani,” Haas has served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory for 21 years and for 19 seasons with the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he debuted the world’s largest timpani — 70 inches in diameter — this past August. Haas is also the principal timpanist of the EOS Ensemble and principal percussionist of the American Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to raising the status of the timpani to that of a solo instrument, Haas has demonstrated remarkable versatility as a musician. He has performed and recorded with Emerson, Lake and Palmer, played on the Grammy Award-winning recording “Zappa’s Universe,” recorded with Aerosmith, Michael Bolton, and Black Sabbath, and explored heavy metal with his rock group Clozshave.
Haas received his bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a masters degree from the Juilliard School as a student of Saul Goodman.
Editor’s Note Established in 1925, NYU’s Department of Music and Performing Arts blends into New York City, the world’s performing arts capital, with baccalaureate through doctoral degree programs that encourage the pursuit of high artistic and academic goals. The department’s 300 renowned faculty guide its 1,200 students, who major in Music Technology, Music Performance (Vocal and Instrumental), Music Composition, Jazz, Music Business, Music Education, Dance Education, Educational Theatre, Music Therapy, Drama Therapy or Performing Arts Administration. In addition to intensive preparation, the department, part of NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education, fosters a collaborative spirit across traditional disciplinary lines to offer a distinctive academic and performance-based education. Producing graduates prepared for successful careers in the music industry like no other place, the department’s distinguished alumni include jazz great Wayne Shorter, music theatre composer Cy Coleman, lyricist Betty Comden, film composer Elmer Bernstein, conductor and composer Tania Leon, music technologist Enoch Light, playwright, Oscar-winning film writer and director John Patrick Shanley as well as “Dean of Deans,” music educator Wilfred Bain.