Principal Timpanist, Queensland Symphony
Orchestra – Australia
1998 – present
Thoughts on playing Timps
I certainly agree with many other Timpanists in that with
the position comes great responsibility, power of sound, and
the opportunity to be creative. I believe it would be one of
the most enjoyable positions in the Orchestra! The constant
decision making with sounds, shape, timbre (stick choice)
means that the player can approach a piece of music in a
variety of ways. You can add a layer of bass presence to the
Orchestral sound, or be purely "a drum" playing very
rhythmically and precise, and many variations in between.
My Hardtke drums allow me to deliver all of these
elements when needed. I find that working with the
conductor, having a good relationship across the Orchestra
is also very important. Sometimes leading the placement of
rhythm, shape of the phrase or playing "inside" the
orchestral sound are just some of the options you have.
Having the conductor trust you and your instincts is a good
place to be and something I always try to achieve.
I was born in Brisbane, Queensland in 1969. I began
learning Percussion from 11 years of age; however it wasn't
until I began University studies at the Queensland
Conservatorium of Music in 1987 that I was exposed to the
role of the Timpani in the Symphony Orchestra under Alan
Cumberland. Alan had moved to Queensland in this year from
London where he was Professor of Timpani and Percussion at
the Royal College and Principal Timpanist of the London
Philharmonic Orchestra for 20 years.
I felt very comfortable on the Timps early on with Alan's
tutelage and found I simply loved playing in an Orchestra.
Percussion studies were continued alongside the timpani
studies which led to success following my Post Graduate
Diploma where I was appointed my first Orchestral position -
Section Percussion, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in
In 1992 I was very fortunate to appear with the London
Philharmonic Orchestra for 3 months as a
Timpanist/Percussionist. Many thanks again to Alan!
In 1998 I became the Principal Timpanist in the QSO where
I still am today. Over the years I have appeared as guest
Principal Timpanist with the Malaysian Philharmonic
Orchestra, Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan and currently
Principal Timpanist in the Australian World Orchestra.
After speaking with other Timpanists who play Hardtke,
and hearing these drums in our hall here in Queensland
(courtesy of the visiting Hamburg Philharmonic) I was sold
on these instruments as the very best Timpani I needed to
produce the sounds and impact I was looking for. From the
moment I wheeled the timps out of their boxes, they not only
looked fantastic but sounded fantastic - a testament to the
quality of design, construction and trueness of the bowls.
The Berlin pedal system gives the player peace of mind
through its ease of use. The pedals are silent in operation
and pinpointing the centre of the pitch is very manageable.
Along with the fine tuner, these drums are very "user
friendly" from the bottom to the top of all ranges. Their
dynamic range capabilities leave nothing to be desired. From
sonorous bass-like playing at any dynamic to clear and
powerful strokes supporting the Brass section – these drums
deliver both warmth and direct pitch.
Since using Hardtke Timpani I no longer get asked by
Conductors to "use harder sticks" or to play "dryer" so from
the player’s perspective I feel I can play with a lot of
81, 74, 72, 65, 62, 56 ( 32”, 29”, 28”, 25.5”, 24.5”, 22
Berlin Bowls with retractable wheel system, American set-up
with Kalfo heads.
Ginter, Kappert, Morbey, Funke, 4Timp and Offelder