Gwendolyn Dease is associate professor of percussion and area chair of brass and percussion at the Michigan State University College of Music. Passionate about educating the next generation of young musicians, she regularly gives master classes at universities throughout the United States and has been an instructor at the Interlochen Arts Camp since 2005.
Dease began her musical career at the age of two, studying piano and violin. As a percussionist, Dease maintains a full career as an active solo, chamber, and orchestral musician, having performed recitals throughout the U.S., Asia and South America. She is an advocate for new music and has participated in groups to commission new works from composers such as Alejandro Vinao, Peter Klatzow, Paul Lansky, Martin Bresnick, John Serry and Roshanne Etezady.
She currently serves as principal percussionist with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and hasperformed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Solisti New York Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony, and the Traverse Symphony Orchestra. The winner of the Keiko Abe Prize at the Second World Marimba Competition in Okaya, Japan, Dease was also the top prize winner at the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ ARTS competition.
Additionally, she was awarded the performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music and has also been the recipient of the Outstanding Young Musician award from the Peabody Conservatory and the Yale Alumni Award. Dease released her first solo CD in October of 2007 of all six Cello Suites by J.S. Bach arranged for marimba. She released her second CD "Boomslang" of new works for the marimba in the fall of 2011. She studied with world-renowned professors Robert van Sice, Keiko Abe, and John Beck. She holds degrees from the Interlochen Arts Academy, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, and the Yale School of Music.