KSU Percussion Faculty
Kurt Gartner serves as Associate Director of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and Professor of Percussion at Kansas State University. There, he teaches applied percussion and percussion methods. Also, he directs the Percussion Ensemble, Keyboard Percussion Quartets, and the Latin Jazz Ensemble. As a 2010-2011 Tilford Fellow, he coordinated an interdisciplinary study of Cuban arts. In the past, he was a Big 12 Faculty Fellow, collaborating with the percussion studio and jazz program at the University of Missouri. There, he provided instruction and performances in Afro-Cuban music and applications of technology in music. He has served as Special Assistant to the Provost and as Coordinator of the university's Peer Review of Teaching Program.
Gartner has performed professionally in orchestral, jazz, chamber, world, and commercial venues, and has performed on a showcase concert and presented additional clinics and performances at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. He is an educational consultant for Remo,Sabian,Vic Firth, and Etymotic Research.
Prior to his appointment at KSU, Gartner served as Associate Professor of Bands at Purdue University. In 2001, he completed his Doctor of Arts degree at the University of Northern Colorado. At UNC, he directed ensembles, taught jazz history, and was the Assistant Director of the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival. Also, he received the Graduate Dean's Citation for Outstanding Dissertation for his research of the late percussion legend, Tito Puente. Gartner is a founding member and contributing composer of the Indiana-based Los Blancos Latin Jazz Band. He is the technology editor for the journal Percussive Notes.
Neil is the Production Coordinator and Instructor for K-State dance, teaching Rhythmic Notation, Composition I for Dancers, Dance and Technology, West African Music and Dance, and Dance Musician Training. Neil also teaches applied percussion lessons, West African drumming, and coaches percussion ensembles in the Kansas State Percussion Studio. Neil earned a Master of Music with Percussion Emphasis from the University of Arizona in 2002 and is Principal Timpanist for the Arizona Opera Company and the Topeka Symphony.
Neil has worked as a dance accompanist since 1994 and has performed with dance at ACDFA, PASIC, and Jazz Dance World Congress, in addition to international venues. Neil's current research involves the study of West African Social Dance and Music on traditional drums and the African xylophone. E-mail Neil Dunn
Graduate Teaching Assistant Benjamin Yancey obtained his Bachelor of Music degree in December of 2009 from the University of Central Florida under the direction of Jeff Moore, Kirk Gay and Dr. Thad Anderson. During his collegiate years he also studied with Florida Orchestra's principle percussionist John Shaw and Washburn University professor Dr. Tom Morgan.
After obtaining his degree Benjamin worked as a freelance musician in the Orlando, Florida area and performed with many groups such as the Festival Singers of Florida, the Sarasota Concert Band, the FloriMezzo group of Tampa and his self-started PANgaea Duo. He also worked as a percussion instructor for both Orange County and Seminole County Public Schools. Benjamin began his position as Graduate Teaching Assistant in Percussion at Kansas State University in the fall of 2012 and will receive his Masters degree in the spring of 2014. E-mail Ben Yancey