Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis Honors Dr. Michael Varner For Outstanding Contributions to Percussion Music Education
INDIANAPOLIS (October 5, 2017) — Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis has honored Dr. Michael Varner, the former director of Percussion and World Music at the University of Texas at Arlington, in recognition of his lifelong contributions to music education and the percussive arts.
Yamaha Regional Sales Manager David Suter presented the award to Varner at a UTA Percussion Ensemble concert this past spring. The concert featured a work commissioned by Yamaha Percussion Artist and fellow UTA percussion faculty member Andy Eldridge, and composed by Yamaha Percussion Artist Nathan Daughtrey.
Following a 36-year tenure, Varner officially retired from the University of Texas at Arlington in May. There, he taught all percussion and world music courses and served as a member of the Honor's College Faculty. He was also recently chosen as the university's Honor's Faculty Member of the Year.
Throughout his career, Varner was an active clinician and marching percussion adjudicator. Under his guidance, the UTA drum line received national recognition for performances at numerous marching exhibitions, including the 1982, 1988, 1993, 2000, 2003 and 2008 Percussive Arts Society International Competitions. He has worked with renowned drum and bugle corps, including the DCI champion Chicago Cavaliers and the Toledo Glassmen.
For more than 40 years as a performer, Varner presented a diverse repertoire, encompassing a wide range of musical genres, including Classical, Contemporary, Jazz and World Beat. Bringing exceptional sensitivity and exuberance to all musical styles, he has performed both chamber music and studio works with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. He has additionally served as principal percussionist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and Principal Timpanist with the Kalamazoo Chamber Orchestra.
Varner holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Bowling Green State University, a Master's in Performance from The University of Michigan and a Doctorate in Performance from The University of North Texas. His dissertation, "An Examination of Davidi Maslanka's Marimba Concerti," is available online and from the Percussive Arts Society.
"Michael's outstanding versatility and passion for percussion shaped his remarkable career as an educator, performer and composer," says John Wittmann, director, Artist Relations and Education, Yamaha Artist Services Indianapolis. "We're honored to have supported him throughout his distinguished career, and wish him the best of luck in his retirement."