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Faculty & Staff Profiles

Ian Ding

Lecturer of Percussion


Ian Ding is a versatile performer whose work encompasses solo and orchestral percussion, new music, improvisation, and composition. He is currently a lecturer of percussion at the University of Michigan, a position he has held since 2005. He recently completed eight seasons as assistant principal percussionist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where he worked under music directors Neeme Järvi and Leonard Slatkin. Previously, he was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami under Michael Tilson Thomas and timpanist with the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland under James Levine.

A committed performer of new and experimental music, Ding is a founding member and co-director of the contemporary music collective New Music Detroit (NMD). In this capacity he has helped organize a number of alternative classical music events throughout the city of Detroit, including the annual Strange Beautiful Music festival. Recent NMD collaborators include artist-filmmaker Matthew Barney and composer Jonathan Bepler (their feature-length film-opera Khu), singer-songwriter Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond, Detroit noise band Slither, and composers Alexandra du Bois, Marc Mellits, Virgil Moorefield, and Nico Muhly, to name a few.

Ding’s other recent projects include: tours throughout North America and Europe with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, including collaborations with Glenn Kotche (Wilco), Bryce Dessner (The National), Burmese circle drum virtuoso Kyaw-Kyaw Naing, DJ-composer Mira Calix, and the Kronos Quartet; touring and recording as a member of the Virgil Moorefield Pocket Ensemble (NYC, Zurich); and appearances with the orchestras of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Saint Louis, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Sun Valley (ID) Summer Symphony, and the Worldwide Chinese Festival Orchestra in Beijing. He can also be heard on recordings on the Arabesque, Electronic Music Foundation, Equilibrium, Hinterzimmer, Koch International, and Naxos labels.

Besides his work as a percussionist, Ding has also composed and produced soundtracks for documentary and industrial films in collaboration with Detroit Public Television, KDN Films in Detroit, and Radiant Features in Los Angeles. His work has been shown on PBS and on display at the Honolulu Academy of Art, the Yale School of Architecture, and the United States Embassy in Berlin, Germany.

Originally from Arlington Heights, IL, Ding is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the Juilliard School in New York. His principal percussion teachers include Jim Ross, Tom Stubbs, Thomas Siwe, William Moersch, and Gregory Zuber. He also studied world percussion and improvisation with Jamey Haddad, Sriram Balasubramanian, and Oussama Naja. Ding currently lives in Minneapolis, MN.

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