Dr. Thom Hasenpflug is nationally recognized as a unique performer and educational voice, while his compositions for percussion receive international recognition and are played all over the world. Currently Professor and Chair of Music at Idaho State University, Dr. Hasenpflug also serves as principal percussionist in the Idaho State Civic Symphony. He has significant clinic, symphonic, and chamber experience, and as a prize-winning composer, he has been commissioned by some of the field’s leading percussionists. His percussion quartet, “Bicksa,” remains one of the most widely-programmed collegiate percussion works of the past 25 years. He received his degrees in percussion and composition from Ithaca College and the University of Colorado.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a university percussion professor, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Thom Hasenpflug: I love the idea of being an independent, beret-wearing composer hooked up with major performing groups, but assuming we’re looking at something outside music, I could see being a professional waiter or sommelier (I waited tables for 11 years). Maybe better still, to control my own future: a restauranteur. I’d like to own and manage a microbrewery that served killer food and IPAs every way.
R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town (other than your school of music or music department) that you are proud to tell people about?
TH: You know those potatoes everyone talks about? Those are from here. There’s even an Idaho Potato Museum 20 miles up the road. The most unique museum in Pocatello, though, is the Museum of Clean, which celebrates cleaning products and accessories throughout the ages. I am being serious!
R!S:What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
TH: I’ll give you FIVE: I speak fluent Swedish and used to live in Scandinavia; I play cards in Vegas for extra cash when I can get down there; I’m in a fantasy football league with other PAS muckety-mucks (as I write this I’m scheduled to play John Wooton this weekend); when I hung out with my college friends from NYU, one of the guys was Adam Sandler; I play the violin (pretty poorly nowadays).
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
TH: The common drum set crash cymbal: so many sound spectrums, so many textures. You just can’t ever have enough of them!
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
TH: I grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. Of minor interest perhaps is that I began playing the violin in third grade and continued through high school. I only became a percussionist to join marching band where all the cool kids were. In my high school (Arlington High School, Pleasant Valley, New York), music was a force, and we were perennial state champions at most events, so being in one of the championship ensembles was not uncool.