Percussion & Steel Band Faculty Biographies

Partial list of 2018 Percussion faculty shown below. More to come!

Dan Moore

Program Director / Faculty Artist
Dan Moore is professor of Percussion and director of the award-winning percussion program at The University of Iowa. Dr. Moore is an internationally known musician, composer, and educator, and a reasonably good cook. Dan has appeared on more than 30 professional recordings — 15 as a leader or co-leader. Dan Moore is a Yamaha international performing artist, a signature mallet artist for Innovative Percussion, and a performing artist for Sabian Cymbals, Gon Bops Percussion, and Grover Pro Percussion. His music is published by Row-Loff Productions, Innovative Percussion, Alfred Publishing, and Cricket City Music and Media. At Birch Creek Dan leads the faculty ensemble and teaches marimba/vibes performance, improvisation, problem solving, leadership, snare drum technique, ensemble performance, and musicianship. He is also a member of Nervous Rust (a percussion collective dedicated to performing the music of emerging young composers). Web site:


Liam Teague

Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist
Renowned steelpan artist and composer, Liam Teague, is Professor of Music at Northern Illinois University where he is Co-Director of the Northern Illinois University Steel Band. Mr. Teague performs nationally and internationally and has appeared with ensembles and orchestras including the Czech National Symphony, Panama National Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Dartmouth Wind Ensemble, University of Wisconsin-Madison Marching Band, TCL Group Skiffle Bunch and the BP Renegades Steel band. His teaching and performing have taken him to Europe, Asia, North and Central America, Australia, and the Caribbean. Liam has commissioned a number of significant compositions for the steelpan, and has numerous CDs to his credit. He is currently the arranger for the PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars Steel Orchestra in Trinidad and Tobago. At Birch Creek Liam is a featured performer in the faculty ensemble and is director of the Birch Creek Steel band. He teaches composition and arranging for steel band, history of steelpan, and steelpan technique. Web site:


Yuko Asada

Birch Creek Faculty, Assistant Steelpan Director, Yuko AsadaAssistant Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist
Yuko Asada is a steelpan performer, director, builder, tuner, arranger, and transcriber. Originally from Japan, Yuko began playing piano at age four. She completed her undergraduate studies at West Virginia University and her Master’s Degree in Steelpan from Northern Illinois University specializing in steelpan building and tuning. She studied steelpan performance with Liam Teague. Ms. Asada is a member and co-founder of Pastiche Steel Ensemble, a diverse group of pannists hailing from different countries around the world. This ensemble transcends stereotypes surrounding the limitations of the steelpan while breaking boundaries of steelpan performance with original compositions, arrangements, and familiar music. At Birch Creek Yuko assists with the Birch Creek steelband, performs with the faculty ensemble, and teaches steelpan performance, arranging, and transcribing.

Michael Burritt

Guest Faculty Artist
Having performed on four continents and in nearly forty states Michael Burritt is one of the World’s leading percussion soloists. He is in frequent demand performing concert tours and master classes throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada. Mr. Burritt has three solo recordings – Perpetual, and Shadow Chasers and recently released his third entitled Waking Dreams on the Resonator Records label. All the recordings are comprised of Burritt’s original compositions as well as works written expressly for him. He has been a featured artist at seven Percussive Arts Society International Conventions. In 1992 he presented his New York solo debut in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall and in 1998 performed his London debut in the Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Mr. Burritt is published with Ludwig Music, C. Allen and Keyboard Percussion Publications. He is also an artist/clinician and product design/consultant for Malletech, where he has developed his own line of signature marimba mallets. He is also an artist/educational clinician with the Zildjian Company. Michael Burritt is Professor of Percussion and chair of the Winds, Brass, Percussion Department at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Website:

Alejandro Céspedes

Guest Faculty Artist, Oregano Duo
Alejandro Céspedes is an active freelance percussionist and educator in Toronto who studied with Russell Hartenberger at the University of Toronto. He also studied with Roberto Concepción at the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory in Havana, Cuba. He performs classical percussion, body percussion, Latin percussion and steel drums. Céspedes performed with the National Opera and Ballet Orchestra of Cuba and the Kingston Symphony. He has performed with Bobby McFerrin, Bernard Fowler, Jane Bunnett; and the Buena Vista Social Club. He performed at Luminato and Toronto’s Body Percussion Festival. He was a musician/dancer/actor for Venom of Love and The Power of Harriet T! Céspedes has taught percussion at the Regent Park School of Music, the National Music Camp of Canada, Manuel Saumell and Amadeo Roldán Conservatory in Havana. He also conducted body percussion workshops at Lizt Alfonso Dance Company in Havana and McGill University in Montreal. He is Co-founder of Oregano Percussion, a percussion duo that combines songwriting pop and percussion chamber music with world music and jazz. Céspedes is an artist/endorser of Pearl/Adams Musical Instruments and Humes & Berg.

Michelle Colton

Guest Faculty Artist, Oregano Duo
Michelle Colton is a versatile percussionist, composer, and singer songwriter who recently released her debut album, Unpredictable Nature. She received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in percussion performance from the University of Toronto where she earned first place in both the DMA Recital Competition and Concerto Competition. Dr. Colton has performed in Beijing and Shenyang, China, in Tokyo, Japan at the Keiko Abe Masterclass, and in Havana, Cuba. She was a percussion instructor for the Iowa Ambassadors of Music tours in the UK and Europe. She has studied musical instruments and styles from Japan, India, Bali, Ghana, Trinidad, Cuba, China, and Brazil. She often plays with the Kingston and Toronto Symphony Orchestras and has performed with the percussion group NEXUS and Dame Evelyn Glennie. She is half of Oregano Percussion with percussionist Alejandro Céspedes. The duo served as Artists-in-Residence at MusicFest Canada in May, 2015, where she was also the featured marimba soloist with the Montreal Wind Orchestra. She currently teaches percussion lessons in the percussion preparatory department at the University of Toronto and is an artist and endorser of Pearl/Adams Musical Instruments and Dream Cymbals & Gongs.

Anthony Di Sanza

Vicki Peterson Jenks Faculty Artist
Anthony Di Sanza is a recognized international performer and educator who has performed, presented master classes, and held residencies in North America, Europe and Asia. He has appeared as a visiting artist at over 45 colleges, universities and conservatories, and has performed as soloist and chamber musician in some of the world’s most important concert halls. Anthony can be heard on over 15 internationally distributed recordings with various artists, including; Sole Nero-Piano and Percussion Duo, Mark Hetzler Chamber Ensemble, Linda Maxey with Galaxy Percussion and Keiko Abe and the Michigan Chamber Players. In a review of his 2011 solo recording, On the nature of…, All Music Guide writes; “Di Sanza dazzles not only in the assurance and polish of his playing but in his tremendous vitality and spontaneity.” Anthony recently recorded Michael Udow’s multiple percussion concerto Moon Shadows. Professor of Percussion at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Anthony is an endorser of Encore Mallets, Black Swamp Percussion, Sabian Cymbals, and Remo Drumheads, as well as an educational endorser of Pro-Mark Drumsticks. At Birch Creek Tony is a faculty performing artist, teaches a variety of world percussion styles, and directs small and large ensembles.


Vicki Peterson Jenks

Vicki Peterson Jenks Faculty Artist
Vicki Peterson Jenks is Director of Percussion with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. She serves on the board of directors for the American Red Cross, the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Foundation School of Music. She was named the 2011 Citizen of the Year for Waushara County, WI., and she was the recipient of the 2011 American Red Cross Clara Barton Honor Award. Vicki is an Artist Clinician for Yamaha, Sabian Cymbals, Mike Balter Mallets, and Vic Firth Sticks She is also recognized as a Yamaha Artist. At Birch Creek Vicki is a faculty ensemble performer, directs large and small ensembles, and teaches Yo-Chi (a mix of Tai Chi and Yoga).


Scott McConnell

Faculty Artist
Scott McConnell is an active Steelpan/percussion performer and educator in the Chicagoland area. He works with steelpan programs at the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and William Hatch Elementary School. Scott is a co-founder of Pastiche Steel Ensemble as well as the percussionist for Orange Star, an acoustic pop group in Chicago. Scott holds a Bachelors, Masters, and Performer’s Certificates in Percussion, Steelpan, and Recording Arts from Northern Illinois University.

Wesley Morgan

Faculty Artist, Bass
Wesley Morgan is a professional musician, educator, and composer in the Chicago area. An experienced performer on both the electric bass and double bass, he brings a high level of creativity, energy, and enthusiasm to every performance. While growing up in Kansas, Wesley took an interest in music at an early age. After trying several instruments, he settled on the electric bass shortly after his 13th birthday and followed with the upright bass a year later. In 2004 he moved to Memphis, TN in order to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in recording technology from the University of Memphis.  In addition to studying the recording arts, he also dedicated much of his time to improving his facility on the double bass under the tutelage of jazz bassist Tim Goodwin. After graduating in 2008, he spent several years teaching and performing around the Mid-South before relocating to Illinois in 2013. He attended Northern Illinois University as a graduate teaching assistant, where he studied with bassists Kelly Sill and John Floeter. During his time at NIU, Wesley instructed students in the areas of music history, music technology, and jazz performance. He received his M.M. in Jazz Studies in 2015.  Currently, he resides near Chicago with his wife (and mixed media artist) Angela Morgan, where he maintains an active performance schedule, serves as an adjunct faculty member at Lewis University, and offers private music instruction. Website:

Peter Naughton

Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer
Peter Naughton is a percussionist, composer, and educator. He is a versatile performer, specializing in jazz keyboard improvisation, marimba literature, and contemporary solo and chamber music. Peter currently lives in Iowa City, IA, where he leads the Peter Naughton Sextet, an eclectic percussion jazz ensemble. He is member of Nervous Rust (a percussion collective dedicated to performing the music of emerging young composers).

Brian Nozny

Birch Creek World Percussion Faculty Member Dane Richeson Faculty Artist and Composer in Residence
Dr. Brian Nozny is in demand throughout the country as a performer, composer, and educator. His compositions are regularly programmed throughout the world, and have been featured on multiple international recordings. As a performer, he has worked in a number of diverse musical settings throughout the US, and presently performs as principal percussionist with the Northwest Florida Symphony, and as a member of the percussion group JP3 (The John Psathas Percussion Project).  Dr. Nozny currently resides in Troy, AL where he is on the music faculty of Troy University. At Birch Creek Brian is a faculty ensemble performer, teaches composition classes and lessons, directs large and small ensembles, and is a member of Nervous Rust (a percussion collective dedicated to performing the music of emerging young composers). Web site:

Dane Richeson

Birch Creek World Percussion Faculty Member Dane RichesonFaculty Artist
Mr. Richeson is Professor of Music at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he has been Director of Percussion Studies since 1984. Under his direction, the Lawrence University Percussion Ensemble (LUPE´) has released two critically acclaimed CDs, and been awarded honors by the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and the Percussive Arts Society. Throughout the world he has been featured in such diverse roles as solo marimbist, contemporary chamber music percussionist, world percussion specialist and jazz drummer. Mr. Richeson has performed on numerous recordings including works on Blue Note Records, Origin Records, Klavier, Accurate, Mark, Naxos, A-Records, CRI, Albany, Innova, and A-440.

Emily Roane

Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer
Emily Roane is a percussion performer/educator and a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where she studies with Gene Koshinski and Tim Brosius. Emily is a sound and visual artist, videographer, and performer specializing in electronic percussion. She has served as an archivist for the Louis Armstrong House Museum and is currently a member of Nervous Rust (a percussion collective dedicated to performing the music of emerging young composers).

Brad Stirtz

Brad StirtzFaculty Artist
Vibraphonist Brad Stirtz has gained a reputation as an outstanding professional mallet percussionist, both onstage and in the studio. Brad's music career has spanned the globe, with concerts in Uganda, Trinidad and throughout the U.S. He has performed or recorded with such jazz luminaries as Ed Thigpen, Patricia Barber, Jerry Goodman, Dan Haerle and Fareed Haque. He toured with the Janice Borla Group, and is featured on her recordings Lunar Octave and Agents of Change. A native of Minden, Nebraska, Brad earned his Master of Music degree in percussion performance at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. As a jazz/percussion educator, he has served on the faculties of the American Conservatory, Roosevelt University and North Illinois University, and is currently on faculty at North Central College. He recently received a second Master’s degree in Theology from Concordia University Chicago and now serves as Director of Music at Peace Lutheran Church in Lombard, Illinois. He has been a member of the faculty at Birch Creek for over 20 years. At Birch Creek Brad is a faculty ensemble performer, directs small ensembles, and teaches improvisation, music theory, and musicianship. Web site: Brad Stirtz


Rodrigo Villanueva

Rodrigo Villanueva Faculty Artist
Drummer and composer Rodrigo Villanueva holds a bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas. As a composer, he has arranged and/or sequenced music for pop artists and has published several original compositions for jazz big band (ASCAP). As an educator Mr. Villanueva has taught drumset courses, clinics and workshops at many institutions in Mexico, Peru, Korea, Japan and the U.S. He is currently professor of jazz studies at Northern Illinois University where he teaches jazz drums, jazz arranging and directs the NIU Jazz Lab Band. Rodrigo performs regularly with his jazz trio and quartet, the Eddie Gomez Trio, the NIU Jazz Faculty Group, Liam Teague’s Panoramic, Ben Sidran Jazz Quartet and the Jan Wheaton Quartet. At Birch Creek Rodrigo is a faculty ensemble performer, and teaches drumset and percussion. Web site: