Friday, May 16th, 2014
Michael D. Faris is currently a percussion instructor through Mozingo Music in Ellisville, Missouri. A native of Washington state, Faris founded and directed the Cascade Percussion Players (1981-87) one of the first full-time percussion ensembles in the country–and was also the principal substitute timpanist with the Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 1987, he relocated to Missouri to pursue graduate studies at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. In 1990, Faris became the principal percussionist with the Illinois Symphony and Illinois Chamber Orchestra with whom he performed his Carnegie Hall debut in 1991. During this same time he was also the percussion instructor for Lindenwood University and Webster University.
In 1993, Faris accepted the position of assistant director of bands and percussion instructor for the Ladue school district–a position he currently holds. Ladue Percussion has subsequently become recognized as a leading proponent in the development of the contemporary percussion ensemble. Recent honors have included recognition as a Grammy Select program (2005) and an invitation to open for the St. Louis Symphony’s First Annual “Explosions” Percussion Festival in 2006.
In addition to his role as an educator, Faris is past president of the Missouri Percussive Arts Society and an active performer throughout the Greater St. Louis area. He has performed with the St. Louis Symphony and is past principal percussionist with the Lancaster Festival Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony, and the Metropolitan Symphony of St. Louis. As an author, he has written three method books including “Initial Studies for Snare Drum and Keyboard Mallets” which he originally developed for his own program in the Ladue district.