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David Birrow

MacPhail Center of Music, Breck School, Struck Percussion
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David Birrow is an active percussionist, teacher, and clinician based in Minneapolis. A versatile performer, David’s interests range from orchestral to world music to jazz to new music. David has performed throughout Europe and South America as an orchestral percussionist with YOA - Orchestra of the Americas. He can be heard on YOA’s recording of Verdi’s Messe a Requiem conducted by Placido Domingo. 

In 2011, David co-founded Struck Percussion Ensemble along with Bojan Hoover and Adam Rappel. Dedicated to new music for percussion and genre-bridging collaborations, Struck has commissioned multiple composers and has performed throughout the Twin Cities. Struck has also collaborated with the Minnesota Percussion Association, Rosemount High School, Winona High School, Metropolitan Library Service Agency’s “Live at the Library” series, Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca, MacPhail Center for Music and the Walker Art Center. 

Commissions have included The Haunted House by James Holdman, which accompanies the silent film “La Maison Ensorcelee” by Segundo de Chomon, and I’m sorry, I’ve already forgotten your name. for percussion and electronics by composer Josh Clausen. David performs with the Marimba Bullies, a Zimbabwean style marimba band. The Bullies have performed throughout Minnesota including at the 21st Annual Worthington International Festival, the Lake Harriet Band Shell, and Cedar Cultural Center. The group’s repertoire includes songs based on the mbira music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe; an instrument that David received a McKnight Artist Grant to study. 
As a jazz vibraphonist, David leads his own group: The David Birrow Group. This jazz trio performs in a wide variety of venues throughout Minnesota ranging from libraries to museums to clubs. David also performed for ten years with the new music group, Renegade Ensemble. With Renegade, David performed the world premieres of dozens of pieces written for chamber ensemble.

David currently teaches at the MacPhail Center for Music and Breck School. The MacPhail Center for Music is the country’s oldest and largest community music school, currently reaching over 13,000 students a year. David’s responsibilities at MacPhail include teaching and managing a percussion studio of over twenty students, teaching in Twin Cities-area public schools, and group percussion instruction. He works with hundreds of students a year. David prides himself on producing versatile, sensitive musicians and his students have gone on to study and perform throughout the United States and abroad. David’s book, The Bucket Book: A Junkyard Percussion Manual, was published by Alfred Music Publishing in the fall of 2014. This title instructs K-12 music educators on how to effectively and musically implement drumming into their classrooms. 

David is a dynamic clinician and presents many clinics each year for both music educators and percussion students. He will present at the 2015 Midwest Clinic in Chicago and the 2015 National Association for Music Education’s National In-Service Clinic in Nashville. He has presented at the Minnesota Music Educators Association Annual State Conference, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. David attended the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and earned a Bachelors degree in Music with a major in Music Education. His percussion teachers included Dr. Ney Rosauro and Shannon Wood and he studied music education with Dr. Joyce Jordan and Dr. Nicholas DeCarbo. David earned a Master of Music degree in Instrumental Performance from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and studied percussion with Fernando Meza, Earl Yowell, and Phil Hey.