The UW Percussion Ensemble, directed by Thomas Collier, performs works for percussion.
Tom Collier, director
Director of percussion studies at the University of Washington School of Music since 1980, associate professor Tom Collier has performed and recorded with many important classical, jazz, and popular artists, in addition to recording and performing with his own jazz group. He is a veteran of more than 50 years in music — his first public appearance was at age five, on xylophone, and his first professional performances were made as a nine-year-old marimba virtuoso.
Collier has appeared in concert with many important jazz and popular artists, including Eddie Daniels, Roger Kellaway, Frank Zappa, Emil Richards, Laurendo Almeida, Buddy DeFranco, Diane Schurr, Peggy Lee, Herb Ellis, Ernestine Anderson, Natalie Cole, Mannheim Steamroller, The Beach Boys, Della Reese, and many more. Although his primary focus in recent years has been jazz, Collier has continued to perform occasionally as a featured mallet soloist with the Seattle Symphony, Spokane Symphony, Bellevue Philharmonic, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and the Denver Symphony.
He has made commercial and educational recordings with his own jazz group for various jazz labels, including Inner City (New York), Music Minus One (New York), TC Records (Seattle), Nebula (Baton Rouge), and Studio 4 (Los Angeles). Collier has also made recordings with many internationally known jazz and popular artists, including Ernie Watts, Don Grusin, Bud Shank, Alex Acuna, Bobby Shew, Laurendo Almeida, Barbra Streisand, Ry Cooder, Nilsson, Howard Roberts, and others. In addition, he has appeared on many Hollywood film soundtracks under the direction of composers such as John Williams, Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, Lalo Schifrin, Jerry Goldsmith, and Oliver Nelson.
Collier has also established a reputation as a jazz/percussion composer, with many of his compositions for jazz percussion ensemble published by Studio 4 Productions and distributed by Alfred Music. He has won 15 consecutive ASCAP Popular Panel Awards for his jazz and percussion compositions.
Collier has recorded several educational albums for Music Minus One and Studio 4 Productions, as well as presenting more than 300 jazz concerts in public schools around Washington for the Arts in Education Program, Washington State Arts Commission. The National Association of Jazz Educators presented him with an “Outstanding Service to Jazz Education” award in 1980.
A UW alumnus, Collier graduated from the School of Music in 1971 with a BA/BM in percussion performance.