Michael Tilson Thomas is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy; Music Director Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony; and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to these posts, he maintains an active presence guest conducting with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States. 

Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Tilson Thomas is the third generation of his family to follow an artistic career. His grandparents, Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, were founding members of the Yiddish Theater in America. His father, Ted Thomas, was a producer in the Mercury Theater Company in New York before moving to Los Angeles where he worked in films and television. His mother, Roberta Thomas, was the head of research for Columbia Pictures. 


Mr. Tilson Thomas began his formal studies at the University of Southern California, where he studied piano with John Crown, and conducting and composition with Ingolf Dahl. At age 19 he was named Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. During this same period, he was the pianist and conductor in master classes of Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz and worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen and Copland on premieres of their compositions at Los Angeles’ Monday Evening Concerts. 

In 1969, after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood, he was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. That year he also made his New York debut with the Boston Symphony and gained international recognition after replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert. He was later appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra where he remained until 1974. He was Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 1971 to 1979 and a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985. His guest conducting includes appearances with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States.

Mr. Tilson Thomas is a two-time Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist, curating and conducting series at the hall from 2003 to 2005 and from 2018 to 2019. In the most recent series, he led Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America both at the hall and on tour in Asia, opened the Carnegie Hall season over two evenings with the San Francisco Symphony, conducted two programs with the Vienna Philharmonic and finished with a pair of concerts leading the New World Symphony. 

A winner of eleven Grammy Awards, Mr. Tilson Thomas appears on more than 120 recordings. His discography includes The Mahler Project, a collection of the composer’s complete symphonies and works for voice and orchestra performed with the San Francisco Symphony, in addition to pioneering recordings of music by Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Steve Reich, John Cage, Ingolf Dahl, Morton Feldman, George Gershwin, John McLaughlin and Elvis Costello. His recordings span repertoire from Bach and Beethoven to Debussy and Stravinsky, and from Sarah Vaughan to Metallica. 

His television work includes a series with the London Symphony Orchestra for BBC Television, broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts from 1971 to 1977 and numerous productions on PBS’s Great Performances. With the San Francisco Symphony, he created a multi-tiered media project, Keeping Score, which includes a television series, web sites, and radio programs. He received a Peabody Award for his SFS Media radio series The MTT Files. 

Mr. Tilson Thomas’s compositions are published by G. Schirmer. In 1991, he and the New World Symphony were presented in a series of benefit concerts for UNICEF in the United States, featuring Audrey Hepburn as narrator of his work From the Diary of Anne Frank, which was commissioned by UNICEF. This piece has since been translated and performed in many languages worldwide. In August 1995, he led the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in the premiere of his composition Shówa/Shoáh, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. His vocal music includes settings of poetry by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, which were premiered by Thomas Hampson and Renée Fleming, respectively. In 2016, Yuja Wang premiered his piano piece You Come Here Often?. 

Mr. Tilson Thomas' song cycle Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind, a setting of Carl Sandburg’s poem, was premiered in 2016 by the New World Symphony, with Measha Brueggergosman as soloist. In 2019 the piece was recorded for at the New World Center and given its New York premiere as part of Mr. Tilson Thomas’s second Carnegie Hall Perspectives series. His first Perspectives series also featured performances of his own compositions, including Island Music for four marimbas and percussion; Notturno for solo flute and strings, featuring soloist Paula Robison; and new settings of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke. In 2020, he led the San Francisco Symphony in the world premiere of his six-part song cycle Meditations on Rilke, and he subsequently conducted the work at the Cleveland Orchestra. Additional compositions include Street Song for brass instruments; Agnegram, an overture for orchestra; and Urban Legend, a concerto for contrabassoon that was premiered by the San Francisco Symphony. In June 2020, SFS Media released an album of works composed by Mr. Tilson Thomas, featuring live concert recordings of From the Diary of Anne Frank, narrated by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, and Meditations on Rilke, sung by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny. 

Mr. Tilson Thomas is an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was Musical America’s Musician of the Year and Conductor of the Year, was Gramophone magazine’s Artist of the Year and has been profiled on CBS’s 60 Minutes and ABC’s Nightline. He has been awarded the National Medal of Arts, has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was a 2019 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. 


Rajesh Bhandari

Rajesh Bhandari has been playing tabla for over 25 years and has studied with Pt. Samir Chatterjee and Ud. Zakir Hussain. He has also studied percussion from all over the world and has worked with many amazing artists including Zakir Hussain, Lakshmi Shankar, Suresh Wadkar, Falu, RagaBoyz, Drew Tucker, Questlove, Shakira and many others. Mr. Bhandari has also been a dance accompanist for the New World School of the Arts, Rutgers University, the Martha Graham Dance School and at The Bates Dance Festival, and has composed music for dance for over 15 years. He has composed pieces for choreographers Peter London, Tania Issac, Onye Onzuzu and others as well working with the West Shore Symphony, and with choir group Seraphic Fire. Mr. Bhandari has performed in many prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Gusman Olympia Theater, South Miami Dade Cultural Center and has lectured and performed at New York Univeristy, University of Miami, New World School for the Arts, MIT and Harvard. 


Mark Damoulakis

Marc Damoulakis—Principal Percussionist, Margaret Allen Ireland Chair, has been a member of The Cleveland Orchestra since 2006. He is currently co-chair of the percussion department at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In his pursuit of developing the dynamic whole musician, he performs as a soloist, in chamber music and is a committed educator and clinician at institutions and festivals worldwide. 

Throughout his career, Mr. Damoulakis has performed and recorded as a guest artist with the orchestras of the New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He is an active chamber musician playing regularly with the Strings Music Festival, Chamberfest Cleveland, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony “In Focus” Series, where he is also the principal percussionist.


He has performed with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Gilmore Festival, the New Music Consort and the Pulse Percussion Ensemble. In addition, Mr. Damoulakis is a founding member of the Time Table Percussion Quartet. In 2015 he performed and recorded with the National Brass Ensemble at Skywalker Ranch and Orchestra Hall in Chicago. 

In addition to teaching at CIM, Mr. Damoulakis was on the faculty at DePaul University for seven years. He has led master classes and clinics throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He is committed to a biannual week-long teaching residency at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is a regular clinician and teacher at the North Western Percussion Symposium, New World Symphony and National Youth Orchestra. Additionally, he is a judge of the annual Modern Snare Drum Competition. His students hold positions in major symphony orchestras throughout the world. 

Prior to coming to Cleveland, Mr. Damoulakis resided in New York for three years, where he performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel (2003-06), served as Principal Timpanist of the Long Island Philharmonic (1998-2006) and held the position of Assistant Principal Percussionist of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra (2003-06). He performed as an active freelancer in New York playing on Broadway in Phantom of the Opera. 

As a collaborative three-year project, Mr. Damoulakis developed the K symphonic line of cymbals with the Zildjian Cymbal Company, instruments that are an important part of his sound collection with The Cleveland Orchestra.  

A native of Boston, Mr. Damoulakis was exposed to music at a young age by his parents who were both educators and musicians, in piano and tuba respectively. He spent four summers at Tanglewood, in addition attending the festivals of Spoleto and Pacific Music Festival. He holds an undergraduate bachelor of arts degree in percussion performance from the Manhattan School of Music, studying under Chris Lamb (New York Philharmonic), Duncan Patton (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and the late James Preiss (The Steve Reich Ensemble.) Mr. Damoulakis continued his studies at the New World Symphony, under MTT, for four years (1999-2003.) He and his wife Samantha currently reside in Cleveland Heights with their son, George, daughter Helen, and their dog, Rocky. 



Matthew Decker

Matthew Decker has been the Assistant Principal Timpanist/Section Percussionist of the Seattle Symphony since the 2016-17 season. Before joining the Seattle Symphony, he spent two seasons as the Assistant Principal Percussionist of the North Carolina Symphony. He was also a Fellow of the New World Symphony during the 2013-14 season.   

Mr. Decker’s concert appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and the Battle Creek Symphony in Michigan. With Battle Creek, he made his solo debut in 2009, performing Russell Peck's triple percussion concerto The Glory and the Grandeur.


Mr. Decker was a 2011 fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and spent two summers at the Music Academy of the West and Round Top Festival. He was also a student at the Eastern Music Festival under Gerard Schwarz, where he joined the faculty in the summer of 2016. 

 Mr. Decker studied at the Manhattan School of Music with Christopher Lamb, Duncan Patton and She-e Wu. He also attended Roosevelt University, where he studied with Vadim Karpinos and Ed Harrison.  A native of Seymour, Indiana, he began his musical training with Paul Berns of the Indianapolis Symphony. 

A winner of the 2010 Kerope Zildjian Scholarship and a finalist in the 2009 Atlanta Snare Drum Competition, Mr. Decker is also an avid enthusiast of novelty and ragtime music of the early 1900s with a special interest in the xylophone repertoire of the time. 


Matthew Howard

Matthew Howard is the current Principal Percussionist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is a Los Angeles native who graduated with his master of music degree at the New England Conservatory, studying with Will Hudgins of the Boston Symphony. He has also received his bachelor of music degree at the University of Southern California, studying under Joseph Pereira and Jim Babor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. During his career, Mr. Howard has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, New World Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony and Boston Ballet, among others. He also has been a fellow with the National Repertory Orchestra, Verbier Festival Orchestra and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.


Zakir Hussain

The pre-eminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, Zakir Hussain is appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon and one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians. The foremost disciple of his father, the legendary Ustad Allarakha, Mr. Hussain was a child prodigy who began his professional career at the age of 12, accompanying India’s greatest classical musicians and dancers and touring internationally with great success by the age of 18. His brilliant accompaniment, solo performance and genre-defying collaborations, including his pioneering work to develop a dialogue between North and South Indian musicians, have elevated the status of his instrument both in India and globally—work begun a generation earlier by his father—bringing the tabla into a new dimension of renown and appreciation.


Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement, Mr. Hussain’s contribution has been unique, with many historic and groundbreaking collaborations, including Shakti, Remember Shakti, Masters of Percussion, Planet Drum and Global Drum Project with Mickey Hart; Tabla Beat Science, Sangam with Charles Lloyd and Eric Harland; CrossCurrents with Dave Holland and Chris Potter; in trio with Béla Fleck and Edgar Meyer and in quartet with Herbie Hancock.

As a composer, Mr. Hussain has scored music for numerous feature films, major events and productions. He has composed three concertos, and his third, the first-ever concerto for tabla and orchestra, was premiered in India in 2015 by the Symphony Orchestra of India, premiered in Europe and the U.K. in 2016 and in the U.S. in 2017 by the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center. A Grammy Award winner, Mr. Hussain is the recipient of countless awards and honors, including Padma Bhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the U.S.’s National Heritage Fellowship and Officier in France’s Order of Arts and Letters. Voted “Best Percussionist” by both the Downbeat Critics’ Poll and Modern Drummer’s Reader’s Poll over several years including 2020, he was honored in 2018 by the Montreal Jazz Festival with their Antonio Carlos Jobim Award. In 2019 he was named a Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow and received two honorary doctorates, one from Berklee College of Music and the other from Indira Kala Sangit University in Khairagarh, India.

As an educator, Mr. Hussain conducts many workshops and lectures each year, has been in residence at Princeton University and Stanford University, and, in 2015, was appointed Regents Lecturer at University of California, Berkeley. His yearly workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area, conducted for the past 30 years, has become a widely anticipated event for performers and serious students of tabla. He is the founder and president of Moment Records, an independent record label presenting rare live recordings of Indian classical music and world music. He was resident artistic director at SFJAZZ from 2013 until 2016, and was honored with SFJAZZ’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017, in recognition of his “unparalleled contribution to the world of music.”



Matthew Kibort is a second-year Timpani Fellow at the New World Symphony. He is also the Principal Timpanist of The Glimmerglass Festival Orchestra. Prior moving to Miami Beach, Mr. Kibort worked in Chicago, his hometown, as an active performer and educator. While there, he was a regular substitute timpanist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and previously held the position of Principal Timpanist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

Mr. Kibort has also performed with the Milwaukee Symphony and Grand Rapids Symphony. During the summers, he has been the timpani fellow with the National Repertory Orchestra and a percussion fellow at the Texas Music Festival. He has also been a guest timpanist with the South Bend Symphony, Rockford Symphony and Southwest Michigan Symphony.


As an educator, Mr. Kibort taught private lessons in Chicago and has taught at the New Music School, People’s Music School, Merit School of Music, and was a percussion ensemble instructor at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Illinois. 

Mr. Kibort has received his bachelor of music degree from Roosevelt University, where he studied with Vadim Karpinos and Edward Harrison. He has also studied at DePaul University with NWS alumni David Herbert and Eric Millstein.


Michael Linville

Michael Linville enjoys a varied career as pianist, percussionist, harpist, conductor, educator and arranger. The Dean of Chamber Music and Fellow Development at the New World Symphony, Mr. Linville programs and coaches much of its extensive non-orchestral performance activities. Additionally, he is the conductor and coordinator of the New World Percussion Consort and acts as curator of MUSAIC, the New World Symphony’s website of educational videos featuring outstanding artists and educators in classical music. 

Mr. Linville first came to the New World Symphony in 1993 as its Piano Fellow. In 1997 he was invited to join the Symphony’s administrative staff and has served in several capacities, including Director of Admissions and Dean of Musicians. As a performer, Mr. Linville has appeared with NWS, the symphonies of San Francisco and Honolulu, the Florida Orchestra and the former Florida Philharmonic. Since 1993 he has been a member of the Breckenridge Music Festival in Colorado, performing concerts as pianist, percussionist and conductor during the summer season and in chamber music and educational projects during the winter. In 2016 he was named an Artistic Partner of the Festival, co-curating its chamber music series with violinist Kate Hatmaker. 


Alex Orfaly

Alex Orfaly is a musician and composer living in the Bay Area. A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Alex has been an active musician and composer from an early age. From 2013-15 he served as acting Principal Timpani of the San Francisco Symphony and has been the timpanist for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony since 2007. Past positions as Principal Timpanist have included the Palau de Les Arts in Spain, New World Symphony and Tucson Symphony. 

Since graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Mr. Ofaly has performed with orchestras worldwide including the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Radio France Philharmonic and Frankfurt Radio Orchestra.


He is also a composer of a growing body of percussion pieces including his Concerto for Brass and Percussion and the Divertissement No. 2 for Timpani Soloist and Large Ensemble, both premiered by the New World Symphony.  

Mr. Orfaly has been a winner of the Percussive Arts Society International Composition Contest four times: in 2001 for Divertissement No. 1, in 2006 for Rhapsody No. 2, in 2010 for Improvvisatto Contrasto, and finally in 2015 for Copper Wired. In an on-going collaboration with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, he has been commissioned to write works for the orchestra. The Mean Man’s March for solo xylophone and orchestra was premiered by the orchestra in 2010. In 2012 the orchestra commissioned and premiered his work for narrator and orchestra, Cowboy Bill. Continuing the collaboration, the piece Breaking Light for five percussionists and orchestra was premiered in the summer of 2017.


Joseph Petrasek

Joseph Petrasek was appointed Principal Percussionist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2017, and Principal Percussionist of the Colorado Music Festival in 2019. Previously, he served as Associate Principal Percussionist of the Kansas City Symphony for eight seasons, and as a Percussion Fellow in the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida.  

He has appeared as Guest Principal with the San Francisco Symphony, and has also performed with the Chicago Symphony , The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony.


Originally from Southern California, Mr. Petrasek earned his bachelor's degree at UCLA studying under Mitchell Peters, former Timpanist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He went on to receive a master's degree at Temple University, studying with Philadelphia Orchestra percussionists Alan Abel and Angela Zator-Nelson.  

Mr. Petrasek lives in Atlanta with his wife, Jessica, and their two cats.


Rajesh Prasad

Rajesh Prasad is the Assistant Principal Percussionist of the North Carolina Symphony. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he has previously held a percussion fellowship with the New World Symphony, in addition to a percussion position with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He has performed with many orchestras in the United States, including the Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Phoenix Symphony and Columbus Symphony. 

Mr. Prasad earned his bachelor of music degree from Northwestern University, and a master of music degree as well as a professional studies certificate from the Manhattan School of Music. His teachers have included Michael Burritt, Christopher Lamb, Duncan Patton, James Ross and She-e Wu.


Mr. Prasad has spent summers performing in music festival orchestras such as the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland, Spoleto Festival Orchestra in South Carolina and Pacific Music Festival in Japan. In addition to his position with the North Carolina Symphony, he spends his summers performing as Principal Percussionist with the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra and is also a percussionist in the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra. 


Kevin Ritenauer

Kevin Ritenauer is a third-year percussion fellow at the New World Symphony. He is from Cleveland, Ohio and has enjoyed a multi-faceted musical career. He has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony as well as the symphonies of West Virginia, Akron, Canton, and Huntsville (AL). Aside from orchestral playing, Mr. Ritenauer enjoys chamber music. Along with his two brothers, he has commissioned and performed works for percussion trio.  

An active teacher, Mr. Ritenauer spent the 2017-18 year coaching the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony, and also serves as a teacher in NWS’s College Track Mentorship program. 


The past several summers provided Mr. Ritenauer opportunities to attend the Tanglewood Music Center (Guest 2017, Fellow 2018), The Music Academy of the West (2016) as well as the Roundtop Festival Institute (2015). Each summer, he was involved in many chamber works, as well as works for percussion ensemble. He has had the opportunity to play under the batons of Andris Nelsons, Alan Gilbert, James Gaffigan, Stefan Asbury, Thomas Adès and Matthias Pintscher.  

Mr. Ritenauer attended the Manhattan School of Music (BM) where he studied with Christopher Lamb, Duncan Patton, She-e Wu, Erik Charlston and Jeff Milarsky, and was the recipient of the Avedis Zildjian Scholarship. To finish his schooling, he studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music (MM) with primary teacher and NWS alumnus, Marc Damoulakis as well as Paul Yancich and Richard Weiner. While at the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Ritenauer was awarded runner-up in the Kerope Zildjian scholarship competition in 2014 and 2015. In between degrees he competed in the Modern Snare Drum Competition and was runner-up.


Charlie Rosmarin

Charlie Rosmarin is a third-year Percussion Fellow at the New World Symphony. A Boston native, he has had the opportunity to perform in cities across the globe, visiting Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Scotland, the Berkshires, Santa Barbara, Breckenridge, Aspen and Charleston, South Carolina. Some of his highlight performances include concerts at the BBC Proms, Gewandhaus Hall in Leipzig and concerts with the New York Philharmonic.  

Mr. Rosmarin has spent his summers at the Tanglewood Music Center, National Repertory Orchestra, Music Academy of the West, Spoleto Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute and Aspen Music Festival. 


The New York Times commented, “Charles Rosmarin, a percussionist, handled herculean labors heroically,” in response to his chamber performance of Peter Maxwell Davies’ De Assumptione Beatae Mariae Virginis with the New Juilliard Ensemble. He performed as soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra, playing Russell Peck’s triple concerto The Glory and the Grandeur in the summer of 2018.  

Mr. Rosmarin also plays percussion in a period-performance context, performing with New York's Trinity Wall Street Baroque Ensemble, Clarion Orchestra, Yale Schola Cantorum, New Vintage Baroque and Juilliard's historical performance program, Juilliard415.  

Mr. Rosmarin received a bachelor of music degree from The Juilliard School and a master of music degree from New England Conservatory. He was pursuing a professional studies certificate at the Colburn School before arriving at the New World Symphony. In his free time, he enjoys long-distance running and reading. 


Thomas Sherwood

Thomas Sherwood joined the percussion section of The Cleveland Orchestra in 2015. He previously served as Principal Percussion of the Atlanta Symphony from 1999-2015. A native of Fairfax, Virginia, his musical career began at a young age when he discovered his father's old drum set packed away in the garage. He graduated with a bachelor of music degree in percussion performance from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where he was student of Tom Siwe and was the youngest recipient of the Edgard Varese Memorial Scholarship. He subsequently earned a master of music degree from Temple University, studying with Alan Abel. Prior to joining the Atlanta Symphony, he was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami for three seasons.


In addition to his orchestral work, Mr. Sherwood is a passionate advocate for contemporary music. For the past decade, he has served as artistic director and percussionist for Sonic Generator, a chamber ensemble specializing in performances of modern electro-acoustical music. An active teacher and clinician, he has presented masterclasses at many of the nation's top universities and conservatories. He has also been the director of the annual Modern Snare Drum Competition, held by the Atlanta Symphony and attracting students from all across the United States.


Marcelina Suchocka

Born in Bialystok, Poland, Marcelina Suchocka is a third-year Percussion Fellow at the New World Symphony. She has performed as an extra/substitute percussionist with the Chicago Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Utah Symphony and Hudson Valley Philharmonic. She was also an Associate Percussionist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. 

Most recently Ms. Suchocka has spent summers as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. She was also a fellow at the Music Academy of the West, National Repertory Orchestra and Spoleto Festival.


She has been the recipient of many awards including first prize in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Young Artist Concerto Competition, Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and Polish National Alliance's Young Artist Award. 

Ms. Suchocka has performed as soloist with the Chicago Symphony and at Carnegie Hall as a winner of the NPR's YouTube Big Break competition. She is one of the founding members of Excelsis, an all-female percussion quartet based in New York City. She has also performed as percussionist with the Mark Morris Dance Group as a fellow at Tanglewood, where she collaborated with the great dancer and choreographer, Mark Morris. 

Ms. Suchocka is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She studied with Christopher Lamb, Duncan Patton, She e Wu, Kyle Zerna, Patsy Dash and Douglas Waddell. Outside of percussion, she enjoys going to art museums and going to heavy metal music concerts.