2017 Biographies — Percussion

Joe Bergen

Joe Bergen

Percussion

Joe Bergen is a percussionist, educator, and composer active in the New York metro area. As a co-founder of Mantra Percussion ("superhuman..." New Yorker) and Transit New Music ("boldly surreal aural experience..." NY Times,) Joe has toured North America, Europe, and Asia performing some of the most interesting and compelling music of our time. Highlights include guest performer on the San Fransisco Symphony "American Mavericks" series at Carnegie Hall, featured ensemble on the Percussive Arts Society 50th Anniversary Concert, stops in Seoul, South Korea at the Music Now Series, and in Drogheda, Ireland at the Drogheda Arts Festival, and cited by the New Yorker for top ten performances of the year for Mantra Percussion's performance of Timber at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in NYC. Joe also performs extensively with the Cellar and Point, Experiments in Opera, and from 2007-2014 with Newband performing on Harry Partch's original microtonal instruments. Joe has recorded extensively for tv, radio, film, and video game soundtracks most notably playing percussion for the 2011 RockStar video game of the year; "Read Dead Redemption," playing vibraphone on the 2015 German film "Elixir" directed by Brodie Higgs, and most recently on Mantra Percussion's 2016 album "Timber Remixed" featuring notable remix artists including Squarepusher, Johan Johansson, Hauschka, and Oneohtrix Point Never. He can be heard on several record labels including New Amsterdam, Cantaloupe, Cunieform, and New World Records. A native of Ramsey NJ, Joe studied with John Ferrari and Tom Kolor receiving his bachelors degree in music from William Paterson University with additional studies from Gordon Gottlieb and Nancy Zeltsman. In addition to performing with Mantra, Joe is the group's education director overseeing programs including; Mantra Youth Percussion ("ear-opening..." NY Times,) the Necessary Noise Festival, and Mantra's in-school residencies. Additionally, Joe is a Wolf Trap early education teaching artist and dance accompanist for New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the percussion director and in school specialist for the award winning Rahway School District teaching percussion grades 4-12, and is an accomplished arranger and composer in the education world writing music for various music programs.


Jim Levine

Jim Levine

Marimba

Jim has been playing the African Marimbas since 2002, as part of an African style marimba band. The essence of the music is to have several different rhythms being played simultaneously that blend together to form really interesting poly-rhythmic music. He started teaching in 2006 to folks that wanted to try out the marimbas because they thought it was the happiest music they had ever heard!. Five of these players have gone on to join his band at various times. He has also taught a workshop at the Percussive Arts Society Day of Percussion in Anchorage in October of 2015 to a group of approximately 20 people and had them playing a song after about 20 minutes of instruction.


Niamh Mercer

Niamh Mercer

Music Library, Percussion Crew, Artistic Coordinator

A lifelong Californian, Niamh came to Alaska in 2015 to pursue her Masters in Percussion Performance at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant as well as the instructor of the World Beat Ensemble, and the Interrelation of Arts and Drama. She is an avid performer, and is passionate about percussion in its various settings, from orchestral to world music.


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