One of the unique aspects of the WPU Percussion program is that there are four faculty members. Payton MacDonald directs the program (as well as teaches world music, new music, and improvisation). Peter Jarvis directs the New Music Series and also teaches percussion lessons and conducts. John Ferrari and Gary Van Dyke teach percussion lessons and also conduct ensembles and classes. All four 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 composer/improviser/percussionist. 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). Numerous ensembles have performed his music around the world, including Alarm Will Sound, Los Angeles Philharmonic, So Percussion, Quintet Mont Royal, Classical Jam, and tabla soloist Shawn Mativetsky. He has received grants and awards from ASCAP, Meet the Composer, American Music Center, American Institute of Indian Studies, as well as fellowships from Yaddo and Ragdale. 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. MacDonald is a disciple of Mr. Sahai. Payton also has a parallel career as an East Indian Dhrupad singer. www.paytonmacdonald.com
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.
Peter Jarvis is a percussionist, conductor, drummer, composer, copyist, print music editor and educator. Over the years he has appeared as conductor and/or percussionist with many important new music ensembles including Saint Luke’s Chamber Ensemble and the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center. Through extensive touring he has appeared on many new music/arts festivals in the United States and abroad. The New York Times has said about Jarvis’s conducting: “. . . [He] did full justice to its rhythmic complexities; Mr. Jarvis and his forces richly deserved the standing ovation they received.” According to the New Music Connoisseur: “While the new music scene abounds with percussionists, only a very few can match the awesome musicianship of Peter Jarvis.” Jarvis composed, arranged and performed music for “Moonrise Kingdom” – a film by Wes Anderson. His involvement in the film as a composer included various individual projects ranging from adding music to a score by Benjamin Britten to composing original music for several scenes as well as other contributions. As arranger and orchestrator he worked on music composed by Mark Mothersbaugh and as performer he led a percussion section and provided several improvisations. He has also performed his own solo percussion music for the second and third seasons of the HBO Series “Boardwalk Empire”. His teaching responsibilities include academic classes, percussion lessons, coaching/conducing chamber music and directing the New Music Series at William Paterson University and several concerts a year at Connecticut College. His compositions are published by Calabrese Brothers Music, LLC and he is a member of BMI.
Gary Van Dyke
Gary Van Dyke is an accomplished percussionist who is active as a performer, conductor and educator. He studied percussion with Raymond DesRoches for six years and earned music degrees from William Paterson College and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Mr. Van Dyke performs and conducts with the New Jersey New Music Ensemble and the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. He can be heard on Nonesuch, Composer’s Recording Inc., New World and Capstone recording labels with the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble under Charles Wuorinen, Harvey Solberger and Raymond DesRoches. Mr. Van Dyke has held teaching positions since 1978 and currently teaches/conducts for the Teaneck Public School system in New Jersey, serving seven schools, grades 4 – 12, and is an Adjunct Faculty at William Paterson University, conducting and performing new music and percussion ensemble literature. Mr. Van Dyke makes his home in Ramsey, New Jersey with his wife, Linea and their three children, Amanda, Kyle and Briana.