Percussion Ensemble

Jonathan Bisesi
Jonathan Bisesi
John Spirtas
John Spirtas

Ensemble Co-Coordinators: Prof. Jonathan Bisesi and Prof. John Spirtas

Chamber music is at the core of our percussion students education. Through the deep and focused study of chamber music we can develop the necessary skills to become total percussionists.

All students participate in one of two types of  ensembles: Mason Percussion Ensemble, comprised of all percussion majors and open to members of the larger university community; and Repertoire, including both large conducted works and smaller works of chamber music performed without a conductor. Qualified MM and DMA students participate in this group as ensemble coaches and conductors.

Mason Percussion Group

The Mason Percussion Group is the premiere performance ensemble of the percussion program. Comprised of the most accomplished graduate and undergraduate performers, the group regularly performs the highest caliber percussion chamber music.

Mason Percussion Ensemble
Former ensemble director, professor John Kilkenny, leading a Mason Percussion Ensemble practice session.

The Mason Percussion Group has appeared at the Virginia Music Educators Conference, the Western International Band Conference, the College Music Society Mid Atlantic Conference, and the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Recently, the Group toured Costa Rica and presented clinics and performances at the National Conservatory in San Jose. In addition, students can perform in a variety of mixed chamber groups, steel pan, and Afro-Cuban ensembles.

The percussion studies program at George Mason University provides aspiring students a comprehensive educational experience. All students study with a percussion faculty who possess impressive performance and educational credentials.

The Mason Percussion Ensemble performing in the deLaski Performing Arts Building.
The Mason Percussion Ensemble performing in the deLaski Performing Arts Building.

Students are trained in virtually every aspect of percussion performance, including:

  • orchestral and solo percussion
  • chamber music
  • timpani
  • drumset
  • steel pan
  • afro cuban, and
  • marching percussion.

Students eventually rotate through every professors studio, thus providing a complete and well-rounded educational experience. Major renovations and a substantial investment in new facilities and equipment offer ample instruments and practice facilities. Our prime location, minutes from Washington D.C., allows students a chance to hear the very best of live music, from Blues Alley to the Kennedy Center, every day.

Percussion students enjoy a wide variety of performance opportunities with ensembles including:

MM and DMA students should contact Emily Craine for audition material.

Third Coast Percussion
Masterclass with Third Coast Percussion

Each year, the Center for the Arts invites several artists and ensembles with distinctive and innovative artistic voices to make Mason their home for a residency. In the Fall of 2021, the Mason Percussion Ensemble had the opportunity to take a virtual masterclass via the Moving Story Window Wall with the Grammy® Award-winning Third Coast Percussion as the first virtual Mason Artist-In-Residence for the 2020-2021 season.