Liz Kan is the Percussion Instructor at Ashland University, Percussion Instructor at Shelby High School, Principal Percussionist of the Mansfield Symphony, and works for Freer Percussion. Additionally, she is an active freelancer, having performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Erie Philharmonic, Lansing Symphony, and Springfield Symphony. Liz has also performed and recorded with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on the Grammy nominated album Transatlantic. She has shared the stage with Keith Lockhart, JoAnn Falletta, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Louis Langrée, Itzhak Perlman, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Sō Percussion, Rich Redmond, and Michael Burritt. Liz studied with Jerry Noble at Wright State University, earning a BM and MM in Percussion Performance. Liz has served as percussion TA at Brevard Music Center while performing in the faculty orchestra, and has served as president of the Ohio PAS Chapter.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a percussionist and educator, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Liz Kan: I have had many experiences that could have led to different career options, but I was always drawn to music and never considered any other career paths.
R!S: As a freelance artist, what's one of the weirdest gigs you've taken or oddest jobs you've had outside the industry?
LK: There haven’t been any gigs or jobs that could be classified as weird or odd, but I have had some very memorable musical experiences that were very special and stand out for me. I had the privilege to perform
“Amériques” by Varèse with the Cincinnati Symphony. It was an arrangement that had 19 percussionists and 2 timpanists! During my time at WSU, I performed “Water” by Viñao and was coached by Bob Van Sice and Svet Stoyanov.
R!S: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
LK: One thing people don’t really know about me is I have met and performed for Tom Hanks! I was really pleased to find out he is very personable and kind!
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
LK: My two favorite percussion instruments are the xylophone and tambourine. I love playing rags and I have always gravitated towards the xylophone. The tambourine is my favorite accessory because it’s an instrument I can hold and feel more connected to. There is such great repertoire with so many interesting techniques and sounds for the tambourine!
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
LK: I grew up in a rural town in northern Rhode Island and lived on a small family farm where we raise sheep. My favorite ewe, Figgy, still greets me when I visit home!