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Alain Barker
IU Jacobs School of Music

Linda Cajigas
IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Friday, May 18, 2007

IU Percussion Department welcomes John Tafoya and Kevin Bobo to its faculty

May 18, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- This fall two top-flight percussionists will join the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Percussion Department's already formidable faculty ranks.

Jacobs alumnus John Tafoya, principal timpanist for the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) in Washington, D.C., since 1999 and director of percussion studies at the University of Maryland School of Music, will become professor of music (Percussion), pending approval by IU trustees. Kevin Bobo, assistant professor of percussion at the University of Kansas at Lawrence since 2003, has been appointed associate professor of music (Percussion).

"Both John and Kevin have developed remarkable profiles in the percussive world," said Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards. "They are recognized as exceptional performers, pedagogues and people. Further, their distinction is drawn from recognized abilities in percussion instruments beyond their own. Both have the kind of breadth and passion that will resonate in our school and beyond."

Steve Houghton, professor and chair of IU's Department of Percussion, said he is delighted with the appointments.

"With these world-class artists, we are poised to carry on the great tradition of the IU Percussion Department, while at the same time creating a cutting-edge program that addresses all facets of percussion performance and teaching. It will be quite an enjoyable ride into the future for everyone."

Tafoya said the outstanding musical training he received at IU, under the guidance of professors George Gaber (emeritus) and Gerald Carlyss, made it possible for him to realize his goal of becoming a timpanist in a major symphony orchestra.

"However, my dream always was to return to IU to share my knowledge and experience with the next generation of percussion artists," he said. "I am very honored to be part of the prestigious faculty at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music."

In addition to the NSO, Tafoya has held previous principal timpani positions with the American Wind Symphony, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Owensboro (KY) Symphony, the Evansville (IN) Philharmonic Orchestra and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. He also has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and numerous other orchestras and ensembles and has given numerous solo recitals.

Tafoya has served on the music department faculties at the University of Evansville, Kentucky Wesleyan College and Florida International University.

He will join current Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra Leonard Slatkin as a Jacobs faculty member. Slatkin also begins his involvement at the Jacobs School in fall 2007.

Nationally and internationally acclaimed soloist, recitalist, clinician and orchestral percussionist Kevin Bobo said he relishes the opportunities ahead of him at IU.

"I am excited to be part of such a distinguished faculty and look forward to working within a world-class percussion department," he said. "The Jacobs School of Music has a long tradition of excellence, and to be able to join such an outstanding group is a tremendous honor."

Besides performing solo recitals, concertos and clinics at major universities and percussion festivals nationwide, Bobo has performed at the 1997 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Anaheim, Calif.; the Third International Seminar of Percussion in Mexico City, Mexico; the 1998 and 2005 Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Seminars in Asbury Park, N.J.; the 2001 Bellingham Festival of Music in Bellingham, Wash.; the 2005 Pzsaislis Music Festival in Kaunas, Lithuania; the 12th and 13th International Festivals of Percussion in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the 2006 PerKumania Festival in Paris, France.

Bobo also is an active composer having had numerous compositions published through Studio 4 Music, PercMaster Publications and Keyboard Percussion Publications. He has been recorded on several albums, including two solo marimba recordings, Marimba Jambalaya and Chronicles.

Bobo earned a bachelor's degree from Wichita State University, where he studied with noted percussion professor J. C. Combs. He earned his master's degree at Ithaca College, where he studied with noted percussion professor Gordon Stout.

The IU Jacobs School of Music provides students in the Department of Percussion the opportunity to gain experience in a wide variety of musical settings, including symphony, opera and ballet orchestras; wind ensemble; concert and marching bands; percussion and hand-drumming ensembles; steel-drum band; jazz big bands and combos; and the new music ensemble. In addition, students have a host of solo and chamber music opportunities.