The Wichita State University alumni are a virtual who’s who’s representing all fields of percussion, ranging from performance to various levels of educators and clinicians, not to mention sound design and composition. Below are just a few alumni that have matriculated at WSU, and gone on to be leaders in the percussive world.
New York based drummer and Grammy nominee Matt Wilson is one of todays most celebrated jazz artists. He is universally recognized for his musical and melodic drumming style as well as being a gifted composer, bandleader, producer, and teaching artist. Matt’s positive energy, sense of humor and ability to explore a broad range of musical settings keeps him in constant demand. In addition, Wilson’s dedication to jazz has helped establish him as a beloved world ambassador for the music, on and off the bandstand.
Kevin Bobo is Professor of percussion at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, a position he has held since 2007. Prior to his appointment at IU, he served as Assistant Professor of percussion at the University of Kansas (2003-07).
He studied percussion with J. C. Combs and Gordon Stout, and composition with Greg Woodward and Dana Wilson.
Internationally respected as a solo marimba artist, Bobo has performed on five continents. His travels have taken him to Taiwan, Singapore, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Australia, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, and nearly 40 states in the United States.
As a composer, Bobo’s compositions are performed all over the world, with his solo works frequently appearing on international competition repertoire lists. He has authored two method books and composed numerous pieces for a variety of instruments and ensembles.
Bobo currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana, with his wife, Emily, and their children, Penelope and Eli.
In 1968, inspired by a performance by the United States Navy Steel band at a parade in his birthplace of Wichita, Kansas, eight-year-old Gary Gibson sacrificed his rusty old round metal "Sno-flake" sled in order to hammer out his own four-note steel drum. Thirty-five years later, he would take a two-month hiatus from his busy schedule as a Seattle-based jazz musician to live in Trinidad, West Indies, the birthplace of the steelpan, and become a national champion as a member of the 120-player strong "Exodus Steel Orchestra" in the 2004 Panorama competition. His most recent award from Trinidad came as 1st prize winner in two out of three categories of the 2008 "Symphony and Steel" orchestral composition contest.
Though his early musical training and education through graduate school was in the classical realm as a percussionist and composer, he shifted his attention as a teenager to jazz and Caribbean music styles. While still keeping one foot firmly planted in his classical roots as a composer and performer, and another firmly planted as a jazz vibraphonist, he has embraced the steelpan as his primary vehicle for jazz improvisation.
Gary began seriously playing the steelpan as a college music student in 1979. A drummer, vibraphonist, and keyboardist since the age of five, he holds a Master's degree in Music Performance from Wichita State University. As a graduate student there, he led his own 16-piece pan group, the "Pan America Steel Orchestra." The group recorded "Inland Evolution" in 1985, a collection of Gibson's original, experimental works for steelpan ensemble.
Dan Moore is an internationally known musician, composer and educator. He performs throughout the United States and in international venues such as the 2007 International Marimba Festival in Chiapas, Mexico; the International Percussion Festival in Patagonia, Argentina (2005, 2006); conservatories in The People’s Republic of China (2002, 2006); and in Valletta, capital of the Mediterranean island nation Malta (2007).
Dr. Moore is Professor of music and the percussion area head at the University of Iowa. As Director of Iowa Percussion, he is responsible for the many elements of the percussion program, which encompasses everything from contemporary chamber music to steel band, from traditional Chinese drumming to other ethnic music, and from concert percussion to improvised and electronic music.
A native Texan, Dr. Moore is a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University – Commerce, where he studied with Robert Houston and was a student assistant to James Keene. He earned the master’s of music education from Wichita State University, studying with J.C. Combs, and the doctor of musical arts degree from The University of Kentucky, studying with James B. Campbell and Ellington scholar Richard Domek.
Dr. Moore is a Yamaha national performing artist, a signature mallet artist for Innovative Percussion, an educational board member for the Latin Percussion Music Group (LP), an artist for Sabian cymbals and Grover tambourines and triangles, and a member of the Zendrum 21st Century Techno-Tribe. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Percussive Arts Society International Organization for Percussionists.
Student of Dr. J.C. Combs. Studied with Andy Narell, Ellie Mannette, Othello Molineaux, and Dave Samuels. Performer/Educator, Britain/Moore Duo since 1986. Founder & Director, Deep Grooves Steel Drum Band (Nashville), since 1994. Founder & Director, Lockland Schools Steel Drum Bands (Cincinnati, Ohio.) 1988-1993. Member of Faculty: University of Iowa Summer Percussion Camp, since 2000; Glencliff High School Bands, since 1999; University of Dayton, 1990-1992; Northmont High School Bands, 1986-1990. Performer/Clinician, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, 1996, 2001, 2003. Performer, Amoco Renegades Steel Band (Trinidad W.I.) 1992. Studio musician and freelance performer since 1985. Blair School of Music since 2004.
Phil Hawkins is an accomplished jazz drummer and one of the leading innovators of music for the steelpan. As a percussionist and drummer he regularly travels throughout the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America to perform concerts, teach clinics and study percussion. Originally from Topeka, Kansas, Phil completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music at Wichita State University where he remained as adjunct faculty, directing the Steelband and Latin Jazz Ensembles. In 1998, Phil moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he quickly gained a reputation as a versatile drummer. Phil currently plays with Latin Jazz legend Pete Escovedo, The Ray Obiedo Group and Mistura Fina.
The music of Paul Elwood often incorporates his background as a folk musician and experimentalist on the five-string banjo with that of his voice as a composer who loves the processes and syntax of contemporary writing. Residencies he has received include the American Academy in Rome as Southern Regional Visiting Composer, the Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Artists Residence Program, Ucross Foundation, Camargo Foundation (France), Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain), and the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos. In 2000 he was awarded the Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies Inter-American Music Award for Vigils for solo piano, and was featured as a composer and performer in Moscow, Mexico City, Marseille (France), Wollongong (Australia), Edinburgh (Scotland), Darmstadt (Germany), and all over the United States. As a composer his music has been performed by the symphonies of North Carolina, Charleston and Wichita, by the Callithumpian Consort of the New England Conservatory, Zeitgeist, pianist Stephen Drury, Tambuco (the Mexican Percussion Quartet), and pipa players Min Xiao-Fen and Gao Hong, among others.
Philip Parker teaches percussion, music theory and 20th century music at Arkansas Tech University. As a composer, Mr. Parker has been widely commissioned and has published numerous compositions for a variety of media.
Major performance venues include the Percussive Arts Society Convention, the International Clarinet Society, the International Trumpet Guild, the International Double Reed Society, the National Flute Association, Music Educators National Conference, Kennedy Center, and the College Band Directors National Association Convention. Parker was also the timpanist for the Ft. Smith Symphony for 27 years
Awards for his music include two winning compositions in the National Flute Association’s international New Music Competition, 2nd prize in the College Orchestra Directors Association international contest, and recipient of a chamber music commission from the National Symphony Orchestra as part of its American Residency program.
Additional awards include Honorable Mention for MTNA Distinguished Composer 2013, an Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship, Composer-in Residence with the Fort Smith Symphony, and two-time recipient of Arkansas Tech University’s Excellence in Scholarship Award.