Moores School Percussion Ensemble


This site is intended to provide comprehensive information concerning the Department of Percussion Studies at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston. The site provides a comprehensive description of our pedagogical and philosophical orientation, the facilities to our percussionists, performing opportunities, and the process of applying for admission and auditioning for our program. We hope you enjoy your visit!

For more information or to receive application materials, please contact:

Dr. Blake M. Wilkins, Director of Percussion Studies
University of Houston
Moores School of Music
120 School of Music Bldg.
Houston, TX 77204-4017
PHONE:(713) 743-3192
FAX:(713) 743-3166

Program Overview

With the Moores School Percussion Ensemble's selection as a winner of the 2003 Percussive Arts Society International Composition Competition and its subsequent Showcase Concert performance at the 2003 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Louisville, KY, the Department of Percussion Studies at the University of Houston established an international reputation as a new leader in percussion performance and education. Under the direction of Dr. Blake Wilkins since 1997, the Percussion Department has grown to nearly 30 students and has quickly emerged as one of the most dynamic programs in the region.

The pedagogical orientation of the Percussion Studies department at the Moores School embraces an intensive total percussion approach. Applied percussion study is oriented first and foremost toward traditional percussion - concert and rudimental snare drum, timpani, and keyboard instruments. In particular, our program places significant emphasis (40-50% of the student's total lesson work) on keyboard percussion instruments such as solo marimba and vibraphone. Students also receive training in orchestral percussion techniques and repertoire, as well as multiple percussion techniques. Moreover, students have the opportunity for considerable training on drum set through secondary lessons and may additionally experience world percussion through masterclasses and guest artist clinics.

Opened in 1997, the John J. and Rebecca Moores School of Music Building, a 25-million-dollar, state-of-the-art music facility, has already been recognized as one of the most outstanding facilities of its kind in the country. The music building houses dedicated percussion facilities, which include a large percussion rehearsal room (the Percussion Studio) and practice rooms designated solely for the use of percussion students. In addition, the school has one of the finest and most complete percussion instrument inventories in the state of Texas.

Dr. Wilkins leads a percussion faculty that includes drum set artist Joel Fulgham, and orchestral studies specialist Brian Del Signore (principal percussionist with the Houston Symphony).

Percussion Ensembles & Other Performance Organizations

A critical dimension of the Percussion Department's pedagogical and philosophical orientation is the student's participation in one of the Percussion Ensembles. The flagship of this program is the Moores School Percussion Ensemble I, a group of 12 advanced percussionists performing classically-oriented works written expressly for percussion. In 2003, the department initiated the Moores School Percussion Ensemble Commissioning Series, a program committed to fostering the finest new literature for the medium. The first two works written as a result were Donald Grnatham's Houston Strokes and Rob Smith's Surge. In winning the 2003 PAS Percussion Ensemble Competition, the Moores School Percussion Ensemble asserted itself as one of the finest collegiate percussion ensembles internationally.

The Percussion Ensemble program also encompasses the Moores School Steel Band (The PANtagonists). This band of 17 percussionists has become one of the most popular music organizations in the Moores School of Music. The percussion inventory includes a complete set of Mannette Steel Pans, purchase in 2002. The band plays traditional arrangements, original Panorama steel band compositions, and arrangements of popular music written expressly for this group. This high-energy ensemble is one of the most energetic of its kind and is highly sought after all over the state of Texas.

Within the vision of the Moores School of Music Percussion Studies department, participation in the Percussion Ensembles is without question one the most important activities for percussion majors at UH. Being a percussionist at UH also involves service in any of our numerous large performing organizations – the Moores School Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensembles, Wind Ensembles, Concert Bands, and the Cougar Marching Bands.

Percussion Department Student Body

The department has achieved (and surpassed) its goal of 26 full-time percussion majors, including undergraduate, Master's, and Doctoral students. This target number of students is optimum for fostering a healthy atmosphere of competition and ensuring quality performance in all performing ensembles, while at the same time affording a high level of personal attention to each student. Dr. Wilkins is committed to working with every student who enters the percussion program, thus assuring a consistency in the department's pedagogical approach.

Degrees Available

For percussionists, the Moores School of Music offers degrees in Percussion Performance or Music Education from the undergraduate through the doctoral levels.