Danny Soulier is an Adjunct Professor of Percussion at the University of Utah. He serves as the Principal Timpanist and Percussionist for The Orchestra at Temple Square, which performs weekly with The Tabernacle Choir for Music & the Spoken Word, which is broadcast internationally to over 2,000 TV and radio stations. They also produce a massive Christmas concert that airs on PBS each year. He has toured domestically and internationally with the choir for more than 20 years. His freelance work includes playing as an extra/substitute for the Utah Symphony since 2002 and performances with other professional groups in Utah, Ohio, Texas, Florida, West Virginia, and Idaho. He has studied with Doug Wolf, George Brown, Mathew Bassett, Tim Adams, and Tom Freer and can be heard on more than 30 albums with the Tabernacle Choir and a couple with the Utah Symphony. Danny's most recent career highlight is playing timpani for Rob Gardner's Lamb of God: A Concert Film released exclusively in theaters in 26 states in March 2021.
Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a percussionist and educator, what career could you see yourself having pursued?
Danny Soulier: I actually do have another career. I'm the Vice President of a private oil and gas company. I deal with land and legal matters and handle some of the administrative and accounting duties in the company. I really enjoy land work and maintaining relationships with people all over the country concerning their mineral ownership.
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?
DS: The weirdest jobs I had outside of music came during the summers while in high school. Because of marching band, I couldn't have a normal, steady job, so I signed up with a temp agency. I built cabinets, worked in a lumber yard, did data entry, and the strangest of all would have to be picking up trash at the dump! My favorite job during college was driving the campus shuttle; it was really fun to drive a 30-foot bus!
R!S: What's one thing about you that your colleagues or students would unanimously proclaim?
DS: I would hope that my colleagues and students would say that I'm easy and fun to work with and that I really care about trying to do my best.
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
DS: This is an easy question; the timpani are by far my favorite. Timpani are so challenging but also so rewarding. I love the role that timpani have in an orchestra, and think they have the greatest potential to add to the emotional side of music. I love the louds and the softs and everything in between; timpani are such powerful instruments.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
DS: I grew up in Utah, and I never owned a video-game console. My friends and I would go outside and play basketball and football or anything else that was fun. Sometimes my best friend and I would even go to the library to check out a merit badge book and earn a merit badge for scouts. We earned our Eagle Scout badges pretty quickly and continued in scouts by getting into Native American lore and dancing and even competed in local Pow-wows.