A native Bostonian, Salvatore Rabbio began his musical studies at the age of 13. He began drum lessons in junior high school and established a reputation as a jazz drum set artist. He was very active in the Boston jazz scene from the late 40s to the late 50s. He then attended the Boston University School of Music and studied with Charles Smith, a member of the Boston Symphony. As a student there he performed the world premier of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rakes Progress" conducted by the composer, along with the premiers of Orff's "Carmina Burana" conducted by Leopold Stokowski. After winning the Boston University concerto competition, he was chosen as Timpani soloist with the Boston Pops. He later toured with that orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler.
In 1958 he accepted the position of Principal Timpanist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra until his retirement in 1998. During his 40-year tenure he has performed under the world's leading conductors. While a member of the Detroit Orchestra he toured extensively and has recorded on the Mercury, London, Chandos, Columbia and RCA labels.
Salvatore is an active clinician in the United States and Europe and is a guest lecturer at many of the world's leading universities, conservatories, and music festivals. He served as head of the percussion department and director of the percussion ensemble at Wayne State University in Detroit from 1962-1986. In 1987 he served as Adjunct Professor of Timpani at the University of Michigan. He has also performed several world premiers of Concertos for Timpani and Orchestra and is proud that many of his students are employed by major symphony and chamber orchestras throughout the world. Salvatore is currently a member of the faculty at the Boston Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.