About WP Percussion

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Welcome to the William Paterson University percussion studio. WP Percussion is where you want to be if you’re passionate about all things percussion. Exciting programming, a rich percussion history, an ideal location just outside of New York City, excellent equipment, reasonable tuition rates, and a first-rate faculty combine to provide students with an outstanding education that is second to none.  The legendary Ray Des Roches directed the program from 1969 to 2002.  Payton MacDonald was hired as the new director in 2004.  M’bemba Bangoura, Colleen Bernstein, John Ferrari, and Mika Godbole share teaching duties with Dr. MacDonald (see the FACULTY page for details.)

The WP Percussion Ensemble performs both classic and new repertoire, including several world premieres every season. The students work closely with professors and often also includes alumni. The ensemble has performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, several NYC Days of Percussion, and traveled to Kentucky for a week-long residency of performances and school presentations, as well as a tour of China. The WP Percussion Ensemble has several recordings to their credit, including a collaboration with Canadian tabla virtuoso Shawn Mativetsky.

While studying at William Paterson University students explore all aesthetic directions and historical periods, from standard orchestral repertoire to jazz drumming to modern percussion ensemble literature to world music. While the emphasis at William Paterson University is on percussion ensemble, the art of solo performing and large ensemble playing is also developed to a high degree.

Many of our graduates have gone on to top graduate schools around the country. Many of our graduates have also become successful full-time freelancers in New York City and other major cities. The school’s close proximity to New York City enables many students to visit the city several times a week, enjoying incredible cultural offerings unique to one of the world’s great centers of the performing arts.

William Paterson also offers a highly successful music education degree as well as a sound engineering arts degree (SEA) and our renowned Music and Entertainment Industry degree. Regardless of which degree program a student participates in, it is expected that they will perform at the highest level possible.

For more information about this program, please examine the rest of the web site and feel free to contact Dr. Payton MacDonald at any time with questions. (macdonaldp@wpunj.edu)