“A class act…a poet and the thinking musician’s percussionist – a maverick with grace and subtlety.” – Colin Currie
Mike Truesdell (b. 1984) is a freelance percussionist residing in New York City. Mike’s endeavors as a solo and chamber musician have brought him throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. In October 2009, he received acclaim in The New York Times for his performance of Tan Dun’s Silk Road in New York’s Alice Tully Hall, saying “Michael Truesdell…played with sensitivity and dexterity.”
Recently Mike was awarded 2nd prize, out of 95 initial candidates, at the TROMP International Percussion Competition in Eindhoven, Netherlands and became the first American to win a prize at any of the TROMP Competitions. After performing the world premiere of Michael Torke’s Mojave for marimba and full orchestra, Mike embarked on a performing tour which took him throughout the Netherlands, including a performance at the acclaimed Concertgebouw. Post-competition performances included a duo performance with composer Nico Muhly and full-length concert Emmanuel Sejourné and the other two TROMP laureates in 2011.
In the summer of 2009, Mike was featured as Associate Faculty, as well as co-producer of the ZMF New Music double-disc release by Bridge Records, Intermediate Masterworks for Marimba (IMM), working alongside some of the most celebrated and influential marimbists and composers today. He continued on faculty, including a master class titled Making Music Your Own: The Music of Mark Applebaum in the summer of 2011. In 2010 he began working as Financial Assistant for the Zeltsman Marimba Festival. In 2010 he was elected to the Board of Trustees as Treasurer.
In January 2008, he performed with the Lucerne Festival Academy chamber ensemble under the baton of the legendary Pierre Boulez and coaching by members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain. Mike then toured under Maestro Boulez to Switzerland, Germany, Japan and Carnegie Hall in New York. In November 2007, he was awarded 3rd prize in the Percussive Arts Society’s International Marimba Competition in Columbus, OH.
Active in non-western styles of music, Mike feels equally comfortable performing the traditional music of Africa, Brazil and Cuba. He has co-founded Spectrum Trio, a percussion trio dedicated to creating new works for percussion trio, based on a fusion of western contemporary classical and pop music with the music of the African diaspora. Spectrum Trio released their first album, Spectrum Trio, in May of 2009 to critical acclaim. In November 2009, Spectrum Trio performed numerous master classes at universities across the United States as well as featured performances at the 2009 Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention, University of Michigan, Juilliard Percussion Seminar and is on faculty at the Wildcat Percussion Camp in Verona, WI.
In addition to performing, Mike’s heart lies in teaching. In 2007, he founded the Savanna Oaks Percussion Ensemble in Verona, WI, and also maintains a private studio. In 2009, Mike created the Wildcat Percussion Camp, an annual, week-long percussive opportunity for students entering 7th-12th grades. In 2011, the nief-norf Summer Festival had its inaugural year, with Mike as Assistant Director, and Faculty at Furman University in North Carolina.
Mike received a Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Performance from Lawrence University in June 2007. At Lawrence, he was awarded the distinguished Trustee’s Scholarship, as well as the Fred Schroeder Prize in Wind/Percussion Performance. During his study at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Mike spent the fall of 2006 studying at the Conservatory van Amsterdam with Nick Woud (timpani, Concertgebouw Orchestra), and Victor Oskam. Mike’s teachers in the U.S. have included Vicki Peterson Jenks, Jamie V. Ryan, Dane Maxim Richeson, Daniel Druckman and Markus Rhoten. After completing his Master of Music degree in 2011 as a student of Dan Druckman and Markus Rhoten, he will continue his studies in the fall of 2011 as a candidate for the selective Doctor of Musical Arts degree at The Juilliard School, studying under Gordon Gottlieb, Greg Zuber, and Markus Rhoten.
Mike is an owner and endorser of Marimba One marimbas and mallets and Black Swamp Percussion.