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PASIC Preview: Paul Yancich at 40: More Than Meets the Ear by Peter Flamm

by Rhythm Scene Staff | Oct 08, 2021

Paul YancichIt has been 40 years since Paul Yancich was appointed Principal Timpanist of the Cleveland Orchestra and began teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). We hope you will join us for the PASIC live panel discussion with Paul and several of his students in the orchestra, including Jauvon Gilliam (National Symphony), Timothy K. Adams (former Pittsburgh Symphony timpanist, now a Professor at the University of Georgia), and Jeremy Epp (Detroit Symphony). Whether you are a player, student, or teacher, it should be fascinating to hear a discussion from a group of professionals who studied with the same teacher over a span of 40 years. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the evolution of a teaching style, indeed an entire school of playing on timpani. 

Saturday, 11:00 AM

This article will serve as an introduction to Paul for those who don’t know of him, as well as the legacy of several of his initiatives beyond teaching and performing as a member of an orchestra. The panel will focus on how Paul’s teaching evolved, both from the students’ points of view as well as his own.

Many people assume that since Paul studied with Cloyd Duff and succeeded him in the Cleveland Orchestra and at CIM, he is thought to be simply a “Duff student” carrying on the legacy of that great man and musician. But what many people do not know is that when Paul was growing up in Rochester, New York, he was influenced by William Street, whose former students included Fred Hinger (Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and Stanley Leonard who played for decades in the Pittsburgh Symphony

When Paul was young, his primary teacher was Bill Cahn, who is known today for his work as a member of Nexus and as the longtime Principal Percussionist of the Rochester Philharmonic. At the time, Bill was a student of Street at the Eastman School of Music, where Paul’s father was a professor of horn. Both of Paul’s parents were professional horn players who regularly played at a summer festival in Lake Placid, New York, where timpanist Saul Goodman was also a member of the orchestra. Paul was able to observe and study with Goodman as well, making him one of the few timpanists to have such direct contact at an early age with the three most influential American timpani schools of the second half of the 20th century. 

When he started with the Cleveland Orchestra, Paul was one of the few major timpanists in America using calf heads on a regular basis. Many of Paul’s students made this choice as well, marking the beginning of a trend that grew to where many timpanists in top American orchestras today use calf on a regular basis.

In the mid-1980s, Paul began to design timpani and snare drums. His early copies of Duff’s 32-inch Anheier-cable tuned drum (using a chain tuning mechanism with several innovative designs by another student, Mark Guthrie, now the proprietor of the Precision Drum Company) are prized by the lucky timpanists who were able to get their hands on one. Eventually Paul founded the Clevelander Drum Company, collaborating on the company’s highly innovative snare drums and timpani mallets. Paul eventually sold the company, but the innovation and legacy of those drums and mallets are still alive today. Three of the leading mallet manufacturers of timpani mallets today studied with Paul or one of his students (Freer Percussion, JG Percussion, and Luft mallets). The Precision Drum Company has continued to manufacture chain drums using updated versions of Mark’s original Clevelander designs, as well as a new line of Dresden-style pedal timpani that retain some design touches from the older company’s pedal drums. 

Finally, Paul advanced concerto repertoire for timpani, performing several concertos throughout the country and commissioning James Oliverio’s “Timpani Concerto #1” in 1989 as well as Oliverio’s “Legacy,” a collaboration with his brother Mark Yancich, the Principal Timpanist of the Atlanta Symphony. A commercial recording of “Dynasty” is available on the ASO Media Label with Robert Spano conducting.

As a teacher Paul, has been able to send more students on to professional careers than any timpanist since Saul Goodman. His students perform in orchestras around the world, on Broadway, and serve as faculty members at many colleges. Even as Paul continues to train students who are able to win auditions, some of his students are having their own success placing students in major orchestras. 

We hope you will join us in Indianapolis for what is sure to be a unique examination of his playing, pedagogical style, and performing ability. His legacy continues with his students’ accomplishments.

1 comment

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  1. James Oliverio | Nov 11, 2021

    Great idea to have this tribute to Paul! Looking forward to it. Just a note on one inaccuracy in the article. Instead of what it says now:

    "...as well as Oliverio’s “Legacy,” a collaboration with his brother Mark Yancich, the Principal Timpanist of the Atlanta Symphony."

    It should read:

    "...as well as Oliverio’s “Dynasty,” a collaboration with his brother Mark Yancich, the Principal Timpanist of the Atlanta Symphony.

    Thanks!

    James Oliverio

    Leave a comment

    PASIC Preview: Paul Yancich at 40: More Than Meets the Ear by Peter Flamm

    Oct 8, 2021, 08:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

    Paul YancichIt has been 40 years since Paul Yancich was appointed Principal Timpanist of the Cleveland Orchestra and began teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). We hope you will join us for the PASIC live panel discussion with Paul and several of his students in the orchestra, including Jauvon Gilliam (National Symphony), Timothy K. Adams (former Pittsburgh Symphony timpanist, now a Professor at the University of Georgia), and Jeremy Epp (Detroit Symphony). Whether you are a player, student, or teacher, it should be fascinating to hear a discussion from a group of professionals who studied with the same teacher over a span of 40 years. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the evolution of a teaching style, indeed an entire school of playing on timpani. 

    Saturday, 11:00 AM

    This article will serve as an introduction to Paul for those who don’t know of him, as well as the legacy of several of his initiatives beyond teaching and performing as a member of an orchestra. The panel will focus on how Paul’s teaching evolved, both from the students’ points of view as well as his own.

    Many people assume that since Paul studied with Cloyd Duff and succeeded him in the Cleveland Orchestra and at CIM, he is thought to be simply a “Duff student” carrying on the legacy of that great man and musician. But what many people do not know is that when Paul was growing up in Rochester, New York, he was influenced by William Street, whose former students included Fred Hinger (Philadelphia Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and Stanley Leonard who played for decades in the Pittsburgh Symphony

    When Paul was young, his primary teacher was Bill Cahn, who is known today for his work as a member of Nexus and as the longtime Principal Percussionist of the Rochester Philharmonic. At the time, Bill was a student of Street at the Eastman School of Music, where Paul’s father was a professor of horn. Both of Paul’s parents were professional horn players who regularly played at a summer festival in Lake Placid, New York, where timpanist Saul Goodman was also a member of the orchestra. Paul was able to observe and study with Goodman as well, making him one of the few timpanists to have such direct contact at an early age with the three most influential American timpani schools of the second half of the 20th century. 

    When he started with the Cleveland Orchestra, Paul was one of the few major timpanists in America using calf heads on a regular basis. Many of Paul’s students made this choice as well, marking the beginning of a trend that grew to where many timpanists in top American orchestras today use calf on a regular basis.

    In the mid-1980s, Paul began to design timpani and snare drums. His early copies of Duff’s 32-inch Anheier-cable tuned drum (using a chain tuning mechanism with several innovative designs by another student, Mark Guthrie, now the proprietor of the Precision Drum Company) are prized by the lucky timpanists who were able to get their hands on one. Eventually Paul founded the Clevelander Drum Company, collaborating on the company’s highly innovative snare drums and timpani mallets. Paul eventually sold the company, but the innovation and legacy of those drums and mallets are still alive today. Three of the leading mallet manufacturers of timpani mallets today studied with Paul or one of his students (Freer Percussion, JG Percussion, and Luft mallets). The Precision Drum Company has continued to manufacture chain drums using updated versions of Mark’s original Clevelander designs, as well as a new line of Dresden-style pedal timpani that retain some design touches from the older company’s pedal drums. 

    Finally, Paul advanced concerto repertoire for timpani, performing several concertos throughout the country and commissioning James Oliverio’s “Timpani Concerto #1” in 1989 as well as Oliverio’s “Legacy,” a collaboration with his brother Mark Yancich, the Principal Timpanist of the Atlanta Symphony. A commercial recording of “Dynasty” is available on the ASO Media Label with Robert Spano conducting.

    As a teacher Paul, has been able to send more students on to professional careers than any timpanist since Saul Goodman. His students perform in orchestras around the world, on Broadway, and serve as faculty members at many colleges. Even as Paul continues to train students who are able to win auditions, some of his students are having their own success placing students in major orchestras. 

    We hope you will join us in Indianapolis for what is sure to be a unique examination of his playing, pedagogical style, and performing ability. His legacy continues with his students’ accomplishments.

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