Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias, Spain, since 1991
My thoughts about being a timpanist
When I entered the conservatory at 17,
I was exposed to the greatest orchestral percussionists
in the US. Everett Firth and his work with the Boston
Symphony made an incredible impact on me. In Firth,
I saw a musician that could literally "uplift" and change
the musical direction of a hundred piece orchestra.
I love physical activity, as well as inspirational moments.
Timpani gave me that outlet. The feeling one has while
playing timpani in the orchestra can range from pure
physical strength, to intimate music making, or to the
Grandeur of a Finale of a great Romantic Symphony. Even
as I get older I would never want to be in any other
chair in the orchestra except the Timpanist's chair!
Jeff earned a B.M. and a M.M. from the
New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. There he
studied with the legendary timpanist Vic Firth, and
Frank Epstein, Percussionist and Contemporary Music
Specialist with the Boston Symphony. While a student
he performed with the Boston Symphony, Pops, and the
He was accepted as a fellowship recipient
to the Tanglewood Music Center by the Boston
Symphony to further his studies during the summer
At the age of 23 he was appointed Assistant
Principal Timpanist and Percussionist with the Hong
Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Later he went on to perform
with the United States Army Band, Washington D.C. and
The Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra.
In 1997 Jeffery received his Doctorate
of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland.
From 1991 to the present Jeffery is
Principal Timpanist and Head of the Percussion Section
of the Orchestra of the Principality of Asturias, Spain,
and performs regularly with other orchestras throughout
Spain. In the summer months he performs with the Chautauqua
Symphony Orchestra in Chautauqua, New York.
He is also an endorser for the Avedis
Zildjian Cymbal Company and Promusin Percussion.
Hardtke Berlin Classic with Dresden bowls. Ten timpani in the sizes:
31” 28” 26” 25” 23˝” 23” 20˝”
Basically I have two sets that can be interchanged as
needed. The 52 cm (20") timpani has a single hand tuner,
perfect for fast tuning of the drum when it is placed
in front of the timpani console (I:E: Rite of Spring).
slightly smaller sizes help me with the higher notes
of the repertoire since I often am playing in damp and
wet playing conditions in Northern Spain.
Why I play the Hardtke Timpani
Hardtke Timpani are the only instruments available
today that produce the traditional Germanic sound of
the great Berliner orchestras. Wolfgang Hardtke meticulous
craftsmanship is beyond compare - These timpani not
only are the finest sounding but they are also truly
a work of art, right down to the traditional ornamental
Kato-Rainer Seegers models 10 mm bamboo, Kappert (felt
cores), Lefima old cork models and Mozart replica mallets.
I use Irish Super Kalfo timpani heads from Ireland.
I tuck them myself, all taunt with no slack and in specific