Photo by Jill Steinberg

Photo by Jill Steinberg

Brian Shank, percussion

Brian Shank is an American composer and percussionist. He has appeared as a soloist at Bard’s Fisher Center and Troy Music Hall and his work spans variety of styles to include contemporary-classical music, electronic and electro-acoustic music, and jazz. As a composer his expressive style is particularly inspired by the rich harmonic language of France’s twentieth-century masters. 

Shank’s first major orchestra premier came in July 2018 with David Robertson and the New Jersey Symphony performing his work Into the Rose Garden at Princeton University. The work was selected as a winner of the prestigious Cone Composition Institute. He has received commissions from The Juilliard Pre-College Percussion Ensemble, CreArt Box, Caroga Lake Music Festival, Tom Gold Dance (modern ballet) and has composed music for theater, including incidental music for a production of A Clockwork Orange directed by Tony award-winning actor Alex Sharp.

He received first prize in the Percussive Arts Society’s Snare Drum Competition in New York State in 2010 and performs with the Æon Chamber Ensemble and Andy Clausen’s Split Stream Big Band in New York City. Shank is also the drummer and co-founder of the jazz group Keystone Pipeline.

A native of Saratoga Springs, NY, his earliest musical training was in both piano and percussion, studying the latter with John Antonio and Richard Albagli in Albany, New York. At the same time he undertook significant studies of music history with Albagli. At age seventeen he enrolled in the Juilliard Pre-College, received a Distinguished Graduate Award, and now holds a degree from The Juilliard School in Percussion Performance. His primary teachers there were Daniel Druckman, Gordon Gottlieb, and Joseph Pereira. His primary composition teacher for many years has been Philip Lasser, with whom he has studied harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration. Currently a teaching assistant at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he studies composition with David Conte and lectures in music history. 

A passionate educator, he was a faculty member at the Luzerne Music Center from 2015-2018 and has been a teaching artist with the Bridge Arts Ensemble, an organization that brings music and art to public schools exclusively in the Adirondack, NY region, since 2015. 

Brian currently resides in San Francisco.