Payton MacDonald directs the program (as well as teaches world music, new music, and improvisation).  John Ferrari and Gary Van Dyke teach percussion lessons and also conduct ensembles and classes.  All three faculty members have toured the world and made many recordings and are highly-regarded professionals.  Students have the opportunity to work with all four faculty members, thus expanding their range of knowledge.  Please read their professional biographies below to learn more about their experience.


Payton MacDonald, Area Coordinator
Payton MacDonald is a percussionist/composer/improviser.   The New York Times described him as an “energetic soloist.” The Los Angeles Times described him as an “. . . inventive, stylistically omnivorous composer and gifted performer . . .” His music has also been described as “. . . engaging and utterly beautiful.” (Sequenza 21) MacDonald has been a featured performer of his own music on festivals in Montreal (Voyages) and Minneapolis (Electric Eyes). As a performer MacDonald has toured the world with Alarm Will Sound and as a soloist, performing in the finest concert halls and recording on some of the most notable record labels.  MacDonald studied music at the University of Michigan and the Eastman School of Music. His composition teachers include Sydney Hodkinson, Robert Morris, Dave Rivello, Bright Sheng, and Augusta Read Thomas. His percussion teachers include John Beck and Michael Udow. Further percussion studies include tabla with Bob Becker and Pandit Sharda Sahai. www.paytonmacdonald.com


John Ferrari
John Ferrari is active in classical, jazz, pop, Broadway, film, television, dance music, and the avant-garde. He performs and gives master classes nationally and abroad, and appears on dozens of recordings as percussionist, drummer and conductor. He is a founding member of the Naumburg Award winning New Millennium Ensemble, a regular guest artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Chamber Music Northwest and has been a member of Meridian Arts Ensemble since 1993. In fall 2007 he joins the faculty of Manhattan School of Music’s Masters in Contemporary Performance program. He holds DMA and MM degrees from SUNY Stony Brook, and a BM from William Paterson University where he has served on the performing arts faculty since 2002.