The percussion studio at Lamont is full of dedicated musicians who work hard and love what they do, all the while preparing for professional careers in music. Percussion students study with John Kinzie, Director of Percussion Studies at Lamont and also the principal percussionist of the Colorado Symphony. Professor Kinzie started his orchestral career when he won the principal percussionist position with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra at 19 years old.

In Fall 2024, Michael Van Wirt will take over as Adjunct Professor of Percussion; John Kinzie will retire after 28 years in the position. 

Lamont ragtime ensemble performs

Auditions

Applicants may choose to either audition in person in Denver OR submit a recorded video audition. 

Applications received after January 15 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. You may indicate your preference for a live or virtual audition on the Lamont application.

Click here to view the current year’s audition dates and the full steps for how to apply.

  • In-Person Audition Requirements
    All auditions are approximately 15 minutes in length. The applicant will choose one of their prepared works to perform. The faculty will choose the second of the prepared works and possibly an additional work as well.

    Undergraduate (BM and BA)
    • Snare Drum:
      • Perform a concert solo from the Peters, Cirone or Delécluse books
      • Perform a rudimentary solo from the Wilcoxon or Pratt books
      • Demonstrate basic technical knowledge of rudiments and rolls
      • Sight reading
    • Mallets
      • Perform a two-mallet solo from the standard literature, which may include the Bach Cello Suites, Violin Partitas or Sonatas
      • Perform a four-mallet solo
      • All major scales
      • Sight reading
    • Timpani
      • Perform an etude from either the Goodman Timpani Method or the Friese-Lepak Timpani Method
      • Recognize basic intervals
      • Demonstrate a good sense of pitch

     

    Undergraduate (Minor)
    • Demonstrate major and minor scales on a mallet instrument
    • Demonstrate the standard rudiments for snare drum
    • Perform a piece of your choice for snare drum
    • Perform a piece of your choice for mallets using either two or four mallets

     

    Graduate (MM and Certificate in Performance)
    • Snare Drum
      • Perform a concert solo from either the Peters Advanced Etudes or Delécluse books
      • Perform a rudimentary solo from the Pratt book
      • Perform a concert roll pp-ff-pp
      • Perform three standard excerpts from the orchestral literature
      • Sight reading
    • Mallets
      • Perform a two-mallet solo from the standard literature, which may include the Bach Violin Partitas or Sonatas plus a two-mallet solo of your choice
      • Perform a four-mallet solo
      • Perform three xylophone or bell excerpts from the standard orchestral literature
      • Sight reading
    • Timpani
      • Perform an etude from the Delécluse book
      • Perform a roll pp-ff-pp
      • Perform three timpani excerpts from the standard orchestral literature

     

    Review Requirements for Artist Diploma
    Review Requirements for Certificate in Orchestral Studies

  • Video Audition Requirements
    Applicants unable to travel to Denver for a live audition may submit a video audition via the Lamont application. Repertoire may be recorded separately in multiple takes; editing within each take is prohibited.

    Undergraduate (BM and BA)
    • Snare Drum:
      • Perform a concert solo from the Peters, Cirone or Delécluse books
      • Perform a rudimentary solo from the Wilcoxon or Pratt books
    • Mallets
      • Perform a two-mallet solo from the standard literature, which may include the Bach Cello Suites, Violin Partitas or Sonatas
      • Perform a four-mallet solo
      • All major scales
    • Timpani
      • Perform an etude from either the Goodman Timpani Method or the Friese-Lepak Timpani Method

     

    Undergraduate (Minor)
    • Demonstrate major and minor scales on a mallet instrument
    • Perform a piece of your choice for snare drum
    • Perform a piece of your choice for mallets using either two or four mallets

     

    Graduate (MM and Certificate in Performance)
    • Snare Drum
      • Perform a concert solo from either the Peters Advanced Etudes or Delécluse books
      • Perform a rudimentary solo from the Pratt book
      • Perform a concert roll pp-ff-pp
      • Perform three standard excerpts from the orchestral literature
    • Mallets
      • Perform a two-mallet solo from the standard literature, which may include the Bach Violin Partitas or Sonatas plus a two-mallet solo of your choice
      • Perform a four-mallet solo
      • Perform three xylophone or bell excerpts from the standard orchestral literature
    • Timpani
      • Perform an etude from the Delécluse book
      • Perform a roll pp-ff-pp
      • Perform three timpani excerpts from the standard orchestral literature

     

    Review Requirements for Artist Diploma
    Review Requirements for Certificate in Orchestral Studies

Faculty

 
John Kinzie leaning on xylophone

John Kinzie

Adjunct Faculty, Percussion

Learn More

Thomas Miller with a steel drum

Tom Miller

Adjunct Faculty, Steel Drums

Learn More

Michael Van Wirt

Welcoming Michael Van Wirt to the Lamont Faculty

The Lamont School of Music and Director Keith Ward are pleased to announce that Michael Van Wirt will take over as Adjunct Professor of Percussion in Fall 2024. He will serve as head of the percussion department and teach percussion and timpani, as well as direct the Lamont Percussion Ensemble. Van Wirt replaces John Kinzie, who is retiring after 28 years in the position. 

Michael Van Wirt joined the percussion section of the Colorado Symphony in 2015. He has performed with the Houston Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, and was a New World Symphony Fellow. Michael was also a member of Seraphic Fire’s Firebird Chamber Orchestra, serving as timpanist from 2012-2015. He is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and the Alan Abel Summer Percussion Seminar.

Van Wirt holds degrees from the University of Denver and the University of Miami. As an educator, he has taught at the Lamont School of Music Summer Academy, the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Northern Colorado. Michael also participates in the Colorado Symphony’s education and outreach programs, including the Master MentorMini Musica, and Canta y Baila Conmigo programs.

Van Wirt and his wife Elizabeth perform regularly as a percussion duo, including performances at the University of Denver, Regis University, and the Colorado Symphony’s Drums of the World concert.  He is a Zildjian performing artist and clinician. In his free time, he enjoys skiing and hiking, completing the Colorado Trail in the summer of 2012.

  • Percussion ensemble

    Members of the Lamont Percussion Ensemble in performance.

  • Marimba
  • Percussion ensemble
university buildings at night

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