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Doug Perkins

Chicago, IL         

Doug Perkins specializes in new works for percussion as a chamber musician and soloist. His performances have been described as “terrific, wide-awake and strikingly entertaining” by the Boston Globe and he has been declared a “percussion virtuoso ” by the New York Times. He has appeared at countless venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Spoleto USA Festival, the Ojai Festival and the World Expo in Lisbon, Portugal.

Commissioning and collaborating to create new works is important to Doug. He has commissioned and premiered nearly 100 pieces works and regularly with such composers as David Lang, Steve Reich, Paul Lansky, John Luther Adams, Christian Wolff, Nathan Davis, Larry Polansky, and Tristan Perich. He founded the percussion quartet So Percussion and the Meehan/ Perkins Duo and performs regularly with groups like Signal, eighth blackbird, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. He has also had the privilege to work with artists like Glenn Kotche, Matmos, Max Roach’s M’Boom, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and pianist Jeremy Denk.

Doug’s critically acclaimed recordings as a soloist, conductor, producer, and member of the Meehan/ Perkins Duo and So Percussion can be heard on the Bridge, Cantaloupe, New Focus, and New World labels. They have been called “brilliant” by the New York Times, named to numerous Top 10 of the Year lists, and the recording that he produced and performed with the Meehan/ Perkins Duo, “Restless, Endless, Tactless: Johanna Beyer and the Birth of American Percussion Music”, was hailed as “immaculately played by the duo” by the BBC Music Magazine and “an engaging experience” by Gramophone. Fanfare Magazine perhaps best sums up the recording by stating “This is a must-hear for anyone remotely interested in the development of music in the past century and is strongly recommended.” Doug’s solo record, Simple Songs was just released in October on New Focus Recordings.

Lately, Doug has been organizing large-scale percussion events that encourage a sense of community and new ways of experiencing live music. His production of Iannis Xenakis’ Persephassa in and around Central Park Lake and John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit in New York City were named Top Ten Performances in 2010 and 2011 by the New Yorker, New York Magazine, and Time Out NY. Alex Ross called Inukuit at the Park Avenue Armory, “one of the most rapturous listening experiences of my life”.

Doug is the Director of the Chosen Vale International Percussion Seminar at the Center for Advanced Musical Studies and serves with eighth blackbird as an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Chicago. Additionally, he served on the faculty of Dartmouth College where he taught percussion and directed the Contemporary Music Lab and the concert series The Way to Go Out.


Doug received his Bachelor’s degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Masters and Artist Diploma degrees from Yale University, and his Doctorate from Stony Brook University. His principal percussion teachers were Jack DiIanni, Jim Culley, and Robert Van Sice.

He performs with Vic Firth Drumsticks and Mallets, Pearl/ Adams Musical Instruments, and Black Swamp Percussion accessories, Remo Drumheads, and Zildjian Cymbals.

Tracks from Doug Perkins solo record, Simple Songs

selections from Doug’s solo record, Simple Songs. This page includes music by Tristan Perich, Nathan Davis, and Doug Perkins

XY - Michael Gordon

Doug perfoms XY by Michael Gordon for Vic Firth.com.

Sila: The Breath of the World - John Luther Adams

Video from the premiere of Sila at Lincoln Center. Doug was the Music Director of this performance.