Dr. Michael Varner, Percussionist

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"Skin That Speaks: the "Talking Drums" of Nigeria

Presented Thursday, September 26 in Irons Recital Hall, "Skin that Speaks" is a lecture/recital featuring Video, Audio, and live performance.included in the presentation were drummed "proverbs," traditional invocations, JuJu music accompanied by the "Dan Burkholder Jazz ensemble" and the premier of Dr. Varner's new composition "Yoruba Rhapsody: Ile-Ife" for Bassoon, Talking Drum, and Accompanying Nigerian drums. the 50 minute presentation received a standing ovation and will be subsequently presented at other universities across the country. The UTArlington opening presentation was chosen to be part of the College of Liberal Arts series "Festival of Ideas." It is one of the first presentations from the Music Department featured in that series. For more information contact Dr. Varner to arrange an appearance

Dr. Michael Varner is Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, a position he has held for the past 35 years. As director of Percussion activities he is involved in every aspect of percussion including Percussion Ensemble, World Ensemble, Marching Percussion, Marimba Ensemble, and a full schedule of private students. In World Music he teaches a survey of world music class and a world music ensemble. He directs the Percussion Ensembles and World Music Ensembles, and teaches applied lessons as well as percussion pedagogy. He hosted Evelyn Glennie, Peter Erskine, Danny Gottlieb, Gordon Stout, Ney Rosauro, David Samuels, Leigh Howard Stevens, Michael Burritt and many more for the UTArlington Percussion Annual Concerts. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, a Master’s Degree in Performance from The University of Michigan, and a Doctorate in Performance from the University of North Texas, for his dissertation “The Marimba Music of David Maslanka.” Varner’s long association with PAS dates back to some of the earliest conventions, held in Chicago and Rochester, and he was selected to be the Host of PASIC 2000 in Dallas. He served as an officer in both the Texas and Michigan chapters and has written numerous articles for Percussive Notes. Varner has presented clinics for PAS Days of Percussion in Utah, Michigan, Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Connecticut, and also performed at PASIC in Columbus, Ohio. He presents numerous solo recitals and presentations across the United States, Europe and Japan, including appearances at the Midwest Convention, and Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Convention. Varner performed regularly with the Fort Worth Symphony, and was Principal Percussionist with the Kalamazoo Symphony. In the field of marching percussion, he taught and composed for the nationally recognized UTA Winter Drumline. Varner will release his latest CD in January 2013 featuring his own compositions. He has over forty compositions published. Varner’s interest in world music led to a sabbatical in Nigeria and he has guided several “Study-Abroad” classes to Ghana.
He received his Doctorate in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas with his dissertation on "The Marimba Concerti of David Maslanka." He holds a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of music degree from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. Prior to his appointment at UTArlington he taught percussion, ethnomusicology, jazz, and marching band at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
He is currently a member of the faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington and also the UTA honors college.   He is an  artist endorsee for Vic Firth Mallets, Yamaha Drums, Sabian Cymbals and Remo world instruments and drumheads



Dr. Michael Varner
Music Department
Box 19105
Arlington, TX 76019
email: MVarner@uta.edu