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Ben Toth

Ben Toth's Biography

Benjamin Toth, Professor of Percussion at The Hartt School, University of Hartford, has presented concerts, radio and television broadcasts, master classes, and children’s programs in many countries, spanning six continents.  His performances have been described as "tour de force" (Gramophone), "riveting" (New York Times), "dazzling" (Beaumont Enterprise), "powerful" (Louisville Courier-Journal), "primal" (Die Rheinpfalz), "enchanting" (Kornwestheimer Zeitung), "beautiful and unusual" (Washington Post), "hugely virtuosic" (BBC magazine), "awe-inspiring" (Saginaw News), and "breathtaking" (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

His varied musical interests are reflected in his performance credits, including chamber music performances with Conundrum (1992-present), the Jovan Percussion Projekt (1996-present), Myriad (1993), Percussion Group Cincinnati (1987-1992), and the Illinois Contemporary Chamber Players (1985-86); duo performances with marimbist/composer Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic, bassist Robert Black, violinist Catherine Tait, and soprano/composer Susan Botti; concerto appearances with the Cincinnati, Lake Forest, Greensboro, Midland, and Peoria Symphony Orchestras, the Symphony of Southeast Texas, and the Eastman Wind Ensemble; orchestral and ensemble work with the Sinfonia da Camera, Akron Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Brass Band of Battle Creek, and the Milwaukee Ballet; and percussion and drum set work for regional theaters, national tours of Broadway musicals, and several touring artists, including Red Skelton, William Warfield, Mitzi Gaynor, Carol Lawrence, Bob Crosby, and the Jimmy Dorsey Band.

Toth has performed at the Ravinia, Walker Arts Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, Symphony Space, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Dagbe Arts Centre (Ghana), Encontro Internacional de Percussao (Brazil), Fifth International Percussion Workshop (Poland), Festival Bicich Nastroju (Czech Republic), 2000 June in Buffalo Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival (Germany), Glasbeni Maj v Pomurju Festival (Slovenia), Nomus Music Festivities (Serbia), Lithuanian National Philharmonic concert series, inaugural Australian Drum and Percussion Festival, College Band Directors National Association national convention, and thirteen appearances at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.  In addition, Toth served as host, coordinator, conductor, and performer for: "A John Cage Retrospective" at the 1999 PASIC; "Out of Africa: exploring African influence in contemporary percussion music" at the 2008 PASIC; and co-host and performer for the 2012 PASIC "John Cage Centennial Celebration".  He has recorded for the Albany, Arabesque, Bis, Centaur, Equilibrium, GIA, Hartt, Innova, Musica Europea, Naxos, TNC, and Yesa labels, having appeared on twenty recordings.

He has amassed more than 30 years of experience performing, directing, and arranging for steel drum bands, including a five-week residency in Trinidad to perform in the 2000 Panorama (Trinidad National Steel Band Competition) with Robert Greenidge and the Solo Pan Knights.  He spent January 2008 and January 2013 studying West African percussion in Ghana, including gyil playing with Bernard Woma and Ewe barrel drumming with Emmanuel and Ruben Agbeli.

He has studied classical percussion with Thomas Siwe (University of Illinois), Larry Snider (University of Akron), and Donald Miller (Cleveland Orchestra); drum-set with Bob McKee; and world percussion with John Amira, Johnny Almendra, Joseph Galeota, Rogerio Boccato, Shane Shanahan, and Glen Velez.  Toth previously served on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.  He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Percussion Performance and Jazz Studies from the University of Akron, and a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois. 

Ben Toth's Gear
Ben Toth

Gear List

Various Yamaha Mallet Instruments, Hardware, and Drums