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Ted Atkatz

Ted AykatzWhenever Ted Atkatz performs – be it in his tails for a Mahler Symphony or in jeans and spiked hair as the frontman of his rock band – all eyes and ears can’t help but focus on this versatile artist.

The former Principal Percussionist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1997–2006) and lead singer/songwriter of his band NYCO, Edward “Ted” Atkatz was once quoted in an interview preaching, “The best musicians I know are constantly adapting, whether they’re in bands or playing in orchestras. They’re thinking of new ways to approach the music they play. They’re also listening to the musicians around them and borrowing ideas from them.” Atkatz stays true to his word and has always been adapting and listening to other music. By fusing his orchestral chops with his engaging stage presence, Atkatz takes his art form to another level. Added to that is an instinct for seizing the limelight that imparts star quality thus raising the artistic bar as soloist of percussion and timpani concerti. His repertoire includes Creston’s Marimba Concerto, Michael Daugherty’s “Raise the Roof,” and Russell Peck’s “Harmonic Rhythms,” among other works.

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Atkatz began his musical studies at the age of 10 at the Bloomingdale House of Music in New York City and later attended the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance and a Music Education degree, magna cum laude, from Boston University, which also presented him with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006. Prior to graduate studies at the New England Conservatory of Music with Will Hudgins, he was actively involved in music education programs and taught at elementary schools throughout Worcester, Massachusetts. While a graduate student, he was invited to participate in the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra for two consecutive summers and, in 1996, he had the distinct honor of performing the demanding timpani part for Tanglewood’s production of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes under the direction of legendary Maestro Seiji Ozawa. Atkatz also earned a professional studies degree at Temple University where he worked with Alan Abel of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Prior to winning the position with the Chicago Symphony in 1997, he was a member of the New World Symphony in Florida.

Ted AtkatzAtkatz has since performed with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra, Harrisburg Symphony, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others. He has collaborated with celebrated artists including Elvis Costello, Dustin Hoffman, Christoph Eschenbach, Tzimon Barto, Pinchas Zukerman, and Evelyn Glennie, to name a few. He has also participated in the annual St. Bart’s Music Festival since 1999.

He continues to enjoy performing a broad spectrum of styles of music as percussionist and singer-songwriter, and also plays guitar and keyboard for NYCO. The band was the subject of a recent New York Times article and its music has been featured in advertisements for Volkswagen and JCPenney. NYCO has released two albums available through its website

A much sought-after clinician, Atkatz continues to inspire students and professionals alike through intense lessons, masterclasses and clinics across the country, including at the annual Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). He is an Artist-in-Residence at Lynn University’s Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida, and is a faculty member at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. He also served on the faculty at DePaul University from 1999–2008.

Ted Atkatz is sponsored by Vic Firth, Zildjian Cymbals, and Pearl/Adams. Vic Firth, the largest manufacturer of drumsticks and mallets, introduced the “Ted Atkatz” Concert Snare Stick under its Symphonic Signature series in 2006.

KH Artists Group is pleased to offer the talents of Ted Aktatz for your next percussion event. Ted is available for clinics, master classes, performances (solo or with your ensemble) and Days of Percussion. In addition to percussion events, Ted can also present his session entitled, “Finding Musical Versatility”.  This session would be appropriate for any music students.


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