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Biography
Daniel Druckman

Percussionist Daniel Druckman is active as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, and recording artist, concertizing throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. He has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composer’s Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic’s Horizons concerts, the San Francisco Symphony’s "New and Unusual Music Series," and in recital in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tokyo. He has been a member of the New York Philharmonic since 1991, where he serves as Associate Principal Percussionist, and has made numerous guest appearances with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Da Capo Chamber Players, the American Brass Quintet, the Group for Contemporary Music, Orpheus, Steve Reich and Musicians, and the Philip Glass Ensemble. Mr. Druckman has also participated in chamber music festivals at Santa Fe, Ravinia, Saratoga, Caramoor, Bridgehampton, Tanglewood, and Aspen.

An integral part of New York’s new music community, both as soloist and as a member of the New York New Music Ensemble and Speculum Musicae, Mr. Druckman has premiered works by Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Jacob Druckman, Aaron Jay Kernis, Oliver Knussen, Poul Ruders, Joseph Schwantner, Ralph Shapey, and Charles Wuorinen, among many others. Recent appearances include collaborations with Alan Feinberg at Dartmouth College, with Fred Sherry at BargeMusic, with Dawn Upshaw at Carnegie Hall, and solo concerts at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre and Merkin Concert Hall in New York. Recent solo recordings include Elliott Carter’s Eight Pieces for Four Timpani on Bridge Records and Jacob Druckman’s Reflections on the Nature of Water on Koch International. Mr. Druckman is a faculty member of The Juilliard School, where he serves as chairman of the percussion department and director of the percussion ensemble.

Daniel Druckman was born and raised in New York City. The son of composer Jacob Druckman, he had invaluable exposure to music and musicians at an early age. He attended The Juilliard School, where he was awarded the Morris A. Goldenberg Memorial Scholarship and the Saul Goodman Scholarship, receiving both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music in 1980. Additional studies were undertaken at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, where he was awarded the Henry Cabot Award for outstanding instrumentalist.

“My father, Jacob Druckman, was a composer who often worked well into the night, so I have memories of scary music late at night.”

Q&A with Daniel Druckman
Daniel Druckman, Associate Principal Percussion

THE FACTS: Born in New York City. Attended the High School of Music and Art and The Juilliard School. Prior to the Philharmonic: freelance musician. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1991. Most recent recording: Steve Mackey’s Micro-Concerto (New World Records). Current teaching post: chairman, Juilliard percussion department, and director of the percussion ensemble.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My father, Jacob Druckman, was a composer who often worked well into the night, so I have memories of scary music late at night. I began studying the piano at seven and started on the drums at ten. The first piece of music I fell in love with was Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE PERCUSSION? It was fun. I had an unorthodox introduction to music. I went to a lot of contemporary music concerts growing up, so it was natural for me to want to explore unusual music and unusual instruments.

WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PERCUSSION INSTRUMENT? The snare drum. It involves complicated motor skills — coordinating the wrist, fingers, and arms.

WHO WERE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCES? My father, and Buster Bailey, my predecessor at the Philharmonic, who was a real mentor to me

YOUR FATHER WAS COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCE AT THE PHILHARMONIC, AMONG OTHER AFFILIATIONS. HOW DID THAT INFLUENCE YOU AS A MUSICIAN? He exposed me to important music and very inspiring musicians at an early age.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN? At about age 12. It seemed inevitable.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR JOB? Finding just the right instrument or mallet or playing style to give the music the proper character

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WITH THE ORCHESTRA? Playing Mahler symphonies with Leonard Bernstein and Klaus Tennstedt

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PERCUSSION INSTRUMENT TO CREATE? A tubaphone for Penderecki’s Seven Gates of Jerusalem. We helped to design it and played it with ping-pong paddles.

WHAT’S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW? I have been listening to a lot of Japanese music: Takemitsu, Jo Kondo, Nishimura, Natsuda

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I am the parent of a disabled child, and I spend a lot of time raising funds for her school and helping with her education.

As of March 2011
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