March 23, 2012

Aaron Williams

MM – Cleveland State University
BM – Oberlin Conservatory of Music
HS Diploma – Interlochen Arts Academy

Aaron Williams serves as Principal Percussionist with the Des Moines Symphony and the Quad City Symphony. He has also held the positions of Principal Percussionist with the Mansfield Symphony (Mansfield, OH) and Section Percussionist with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony.

Concurrently, Aaron is also an active freelance percussionist. He has performed with the Kansas City Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Wichita Symphony, Orchestra Iowa (Cedar Rapids, IA), Buffalo Philharmonic, Toledo Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony, and the New World Symphony, among others.

Additional orchestral engagements have lead Aaron to performances on three other continents. He performed with the Rome Festival Orchestra in Rome, Italy.  He toured China with the Oberlin Orchestra, giving concerts in Beijing and Shanghai, among other cities.  He also performed with the Orquestra de Professores at the Festival de Música de Santa Catarina in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil.

As a soloist, Aaron has performed David Gillingham’s Marimba Concerto No. 2 with the Des Moines Symphony, Áskell Másson’s Konzertstück for Snare Drum and Orchestra with the Firelands Symphony (Sandusky, OH), and Paul Creston’s Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra with the Quincy Symphony (Quincy, IL). During the summer, Aaron performs on the steps of the Iowa State Capitol with the Des Moines Metro Concert Band and has been featured as a soloist with the band.

Having great enthusiasm for contemporary chamber music, Aaron served as Artistic Director and percussionist for “Rhythm Unleashed: The Music of Marc Mellits”, a concert on the Quad City Symphony’s Signature Series. In Des Moines, he collaborated with organist Tin-Shi Tam to perform the U.S. premieres of Phaikon 493 by Leander Kaiser and The Shining City by JacobTV.

Aaron resides in Des Moines, IA where he maintains a private teaching studio and is on the faculty of the Des Moines Symphony Academy. He is also the Director of Operations for the Des Moines Symphony.  He has a Master of Music degree from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.  He received his high school diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy.  His former teachers include Tom Freer, Michael Rosen, John Alfieri, Keith Aleo, and Dr. Donna Bohn.

Aaron is a Performing Artist for the Pearl Corporation and Adams Musical Instruments.

March 20, 2012

Robert Meunier

Robert Meunier is Director of Bands and Professor of Percussion at Drake University where he is the conductor of the wind symphony, and director of percussion studies. Meunier is in demand as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator, and a contributing author to eight volumes of Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Teaching Music Through Performing Marches and Teaching Music Through Jazz Performance. He has appeared throughout the United States, and in Sweden, Canada and Mexico, where he has been an artist/conductor in residence at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica and at the Academia de Musica Escuela de Musica Ollin Yoliztli in Mexico City. Meunier is the founder of the Drake University Wind Symphony that, since its inception in 1998, has gained national recognition for excellence in live performance and recordings.

A member of the percussion section of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra for more than 25 years, Meunier has experiences in orchestral, jazz, show, solo performance, and recording. He includes Don Rickles, Robert Goulet, the Smothers Brothers, Red Skelton, Roger Williams and the Temptations among his numerous performance credits.

Meunier holds a bachelor of science in music education from the University of Mary, a master of music in percussion performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has pursued doctoral studies in wind conducting at the University of North Texas where he was a student of Eugene Migliaro Corporon and Dennis Fisher. In 2005, Meunier was honored as Drake’s College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher of the Year and in 2009, he was honored by Drake as a nominee for the Outstanding Teacher of the Year. He is a past- president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association, and a past-president of the South Central Iowa Bandmasters Association and the Iowa Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. Meunier is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, Iowa Bandmasters Association, Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society, the Percussive Arts Society and an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

February 21, 2012

Thomas Mackey

Born in Washington D.C. and raised in Maryland and Illinois, Tom joined the Des Moines Symphony as a percussionist in 2000.  Tom began playing percussion in 1976 at the age of 9 with the encouragement of his mom, who was an elementary school music teacher and dad, who was a Major in the U.S. Army and worked for the National Security Agency.  Tom earned a Bachelor of Music from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Frank Epstein of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  While in graduate school, Tom performed with the Boston Philharmonic and spent summers at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado where he studied with Tom Stubbs of the St. Louis Symphony.  After living in the cold Northeast for a few years, Tom was offered and accepted a job as a cruise ship drummer based out of Miami just before moving back to the Midwest.  Since moving to Iowa, he has performed with the Omaha, Quad City and Peoria Symphonies in addition to his duties with the Des Moines Symphony.  Tom is also a member of Orchestra Iowa in Cedar Rapids where he has been Principal Percussionist since 1992.