The Hartt School

Percussion

Our philosophy regarding percussion education is to be as all-inclusive as possible. As a Hartt student, you will typically study solo, chamber and orchestral repertoire, as well as improvisation, drum-set, and percussion instruments from other cultures (particularly from Africa, the Middle East, Cuba, Brazil, and Trinidad). We routinely hire guest teachers with focused areas of expertise in order to compliment our more traditional offerings. As a result, Hartt percussion alumni have been very successful in finding a variety of jobs throughout the country.

With an average enrollment of about 15 students, the Hartt percussion program fosters a healthy exchange of ideas and perspectives among the students and allows for personalized attention from the percussion faculty. The teaching/learning experience extends beyond the boundaries of applied lessons, as the Hartt percussion faculty employs an "open door" policy with the students--we are here to serve you.

The Hartt percussion program enjoys a rich tradition of excellence and diversity dating back more than fifty years, distinguishing The Hartt School as having one of the first percussion programs and percussion ensembles in the country. Founded and directed by Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame member Alexander Lepak from 1947-91, the Hartt percussion program has been directed by Benjamin Toth since 1992.

FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT

  • Two teaching studios: These studios house the percussion faculty's extensive instrument, mallet, and music collection -- all of which are used as a resource for the Hartt percussion students.
  • Seven percussion practice rooms: Housing a large inventory of well-maintained percussion instruments.
  • Personal practice rooms: In addition to the rooms mentioned above, each percussion student is assigned a secure, personal practice room to be shared with one or two other percussionists.

Ben Toth

Professor of Percussion,

Benjamin Toth, Professor of Percussion at The Hartt School, University of Hartford, has presented concerts, radio and television broadcasts, master classes, and children’s programs in many countries, spanning six continents.  His performances have been described as “tour de force” (Gramophone), “riveting” (New York Times), “dazzling” (Beaumont Enterprise), “powerful” (Louisville Courier-Journal), “primal” (Die Rheinpfalz), “enchanting” (Kornwestheimer Zeitung), “beautiful and unusual” (Washington Post), “passionate” (Westfalen Blatt), “absolutely precise” (Marburger Neue Zeitung), “hugely virtuosic” (BBC magazine), “awe-inspiring” (Saginaw News), and “breathtaking” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Percussion Faculty & Staff

Benjamin Toth
Percussion Faculty; Professor of Percussion; Chair, Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion
Hartt Community Division
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John Amira
Senior Artist Teacher
Instrumental Studies
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Rogerio Boccato
Senior Artist Teacher
Instrumental Studies
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Joe Galeota
Senior Artist Teacher
Instrumental Studies
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Ted Piltzecker
Senior Artist Teacher
The Hartt School
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Shane Shanahan
Senior Artist Teacher
Instrumental Studies
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Admission and Audition Requirements

In order to schedule an audition, the University of Hartford application as well as the Hartt supplemental application must be completed.  Learn more about the undergraduate or graduate application process.

The Hartt School conducts live auditions and interviews for applicants on campus as well as in select cities around the United States. Applicants who reside more than 300 miles away from campus are eligible to submit a recorded audition. 

Undergraduate

  • Snare Drum: [1] prepared solo or étude, [2] demonstrate orchestral long roll, [3] sight-reading
  • Mallet Keyboard Instruments: [1] prepared solo and/or étude, [2] demonstrate scales, [3] sight-reading
  • Timpani: [1] prepared solo or étude, and/or orchestral excerpts, [2] demonstrate tuning ability
  • Orchestral excerpts: optional for undergraduate applicants
  • Prepared drum-set demonstrations or solos, hand-drumming demonstrations, multiple-percussion solos or studies are not required, but may be presented.

Graduate requirements

  • Snare Drum: [1] prepared solo or étude; [2] Demonstrate orchestral long roll; [3] sight-reading
  • Mallet Keyboard Instruments: [1] prepared solo and/or étude with four-mallets; [2] prepared solo and/or étude with two-mallets ; [3] Sight-reading
  • Timpani: [1] prepared solo or étude, and/or orchestral excerpts; [2] Demonstrate tuning ability
  • Orchestral Excerpts: recommended
  • Prepared drum-set demonstrations or solos; hand-drumming demonstrations; and multiple-percussion solos or studies are not required, but may be presented.

Christopher Natale

Percussion Performance, 2020

Christopher Natale had the chance to shadow Hartt alumnus and 2018 Harr Alumni Award Winner Shane Shanahan in the pit for Mean Girls Broadway.

This is the biggest honor I’ve had so far pertaining to my musical experiences, and wouldn’t be possible if not for the contacts I’ve made at Hartt.

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