RNCM Day of Percussion

Welcome to the RNCM Day of Percussion. We are delighted to welcome our International Visiting Tutor in Percussion, Kai Strobel, to kick off the day of inspirational clinics and performances.  We have clinics focussing on the timpani and xylophone from our percussion staff Paul Turner and Liz Gilliver, as well as sessions from visiting artists, including composer and percussionist Arnold Marinissen and drummer Ralph Salmins.  Throughout the day you’ll also have the opportunity to meet and chat to the artists and RNCM percussion staff.

Our headline evening event will be the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers, who we’re excited to welcome back to the RNCM for what promises to be a thrilling and energetic performance.

In between events, don’t forget to check out our exhibition of trade stands, with stalls from Drum Tuning Workshops, Matt Nolan Custom, RAF Music Services, and SABIAN Ltd.

We hope you enjoy the day!

Simone Rebello artistic director

Day of Percussion schedule:


10am – 10.50am / RNCM Concert Hall

Session 1: Percussion in the 21st Century with Kai Strobel

Kai explores a new artistic approach to percussion, incorporating both theatrical and technological elements.

Kai Strobel - biography

Kai Strobel, 1st place winner and recipient of the audience award at the 68th ARD Music Competition 2019 and winner of the 2018 TROMP Percussion Competition in Eindhoven, ranks among the most promising percussionists of his generation.

As a soloist, he has performed with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck, the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, the Asko|Schönberg Orchestra, the Musicum Collegium Basel and the St. Petersburg State Capella Symphony Orchestra, among others.

He is a scholarship recipient of the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben and the German Music Competition, and an honoree of the Mozarteum International Summer Academy.

As a lecturer and soloist, Kai Strobel regularly appears as a guest at music festivals in France, Croatia, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, USA, Portugal, Hungary and Germany.

Kai received his first lessons from Marta Klimasara in Stuttgart. Since 2012, Kai Strobel has studied percussion at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz under Leonhard Schmidinger and Bogdan Bacanu.

In addition to his solo career, Kai Strobel is looking to explore and expand further the possibilities of using percussion instruments in his chamber music groups, such as the Boum-Percussion Ensemble and the PinedaBraussStrobel Trio, for which he also regularly writes arrangements. In doing so, he aims to broaden the percussion repertoire with works by great composers. Kai takes inspiration from their ideas as well as from the developments which instruments have undergone. His arrangements of works by Claude Debussy have already been published.

Kai Strobel is an endorser of the Dutch instrument maker Adams Musical Instruments, Zultan Cymbals and Meinl Percussion.

11.20am – 12.10pm / RNCM Theatre

Session 2: The Timpanist’s Role with Paul Turner

Paul explores some of the skills and attributes required to perform as a timpanist in musical ensembles.

Paul will be accompanied by pianist Jordi Bitlloch.

Paul Turner - biography

Paul Turner is currently Principal Timpanist at the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he has held for almost 25 years. During his time with the orchestra he has performed, recorded and toured internationally extensively. Paul was previously Principal Timpanist at the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and he has appeared as a guest timpanist with countless orchestras and ensembles including London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Mozart Players and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to name but a few. Paul is a highly sought after tutor giving private lessons, masterclasses and tuition at conservatoires across the UK.

Paul is a tutor in timpani at the RNCM.

12.40pm – 1.30pm / RNCM Concert Hall

Session 3: Practical Pointers for Percussionists with Simone Rebello

A session looking at some of the practicalities of playing percussion presented by RNCM Director of Percussion Simone Rebello with music from  the RNCM Percussion Department.

Please note that this is a change to the advertised programme, as Arnold Marinissen has been unable to travel from the Netherlands.

Simone Rebello - biography

Simone graduated with Distinction from the Royal Northern College of Music to embark on a solo career that has seen her record several solo CDs, tour extensively nationally and internationally, appear on UK and international television and radio, and win a collection of awards and prizes, including the Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year in Performing Arts.

As a concerto soloist Simone works frequently with wind orchestras and brass bands at venues throughout the world. She has appeared as a concerto soloist at the Lincoln Centre in New York, has worked across Europe, and has premiered several new works for solo percussion.

Simone is a founding member of the highly successful BackBeat Percussion Quartet, which frequently tours and records internationally and has won a number of chamber music competitions in the UK (Royal Over-Seas League and Park Lane Group), Japan (International Chamber Music Festival) and the USA (Concert Artists Guild). These prizes have led to concerts in prestigious venues around the world including the Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall.

Additionally, Simone also works with The Equivox Trio (with Rob Buckland, saxes, and Peter Lawson, piano), Ex Cathedra, The BBC Singers, Young Voices in Concert, and jazz pianist Jason Rebello.

Alongside performing, Simone is an experienced adjudicator of percussion events, brass and wind band contests and general music competitions. She has been invited to judge at the highest level including for the Royal Academy of Music, BBC Young Musician of the Year, National Concert Band Finals and National Brass Championships for New Zealand, Australia, USA and Switzerland.

Simone is frequently asked to present concerts and talks/lectures featuring all aspects of playing percussion and she works as a presenter at numerous events including the 2010 European Brass Band Championships which she hosted for a live international webcast.

Simone is a solo artist and endorsee for Yamaha Music, Sabian Cymbals and Mike Balter Mallets.


1.40pm – 2.10pm / Carole Nash Recital Room

Mallet Light Workshop with Simone Rebello

Open to all Day of Percussion ticket holders, limited capacity.  Please sign up at the RNCM Percussion desk on the Lower Concourse.

This session will be repeated at 6.00pm.


2.30pm – 3.20pm / RNCM Concert Hall

Session 4: The Golden Age of the Xylophone with Liz Gilliver

An entertaining retrospective showcasing the virtuosic xylophonists of the early 20th century, with a wealth of archive film and recordings to enjoy.

Liz Gilliver - biography

Liz Gilliver graduated from the RNCM in 1986, after which she studied at the Rotterdams Conservatorium in Holland as a student of the renowned marimbist Robert Van Sice.She enjoys an interesting and varied career performing in such diverse areas as symphonic (BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Halle, RLPO among others), contemporary (Psappha, Creative Jazz Orchestra with Antony Braxton and Peter Erskine), and musical theatre, including the demanding mallet score for Pirates.

She currently holds teaching positions at RNCM and Birmingham Conservatoire, where she co-directs the percussion ensemble, and is an occasional visitor to Chetham’s.

3.50pm – 4.40pm / RNCM Theatre

Session 5: An Introduction to Taiko Drumming with Miyuki Williams

This introduction will take you from taiko drumming’s historical roots in Shintoism and Buddhism through to the exciting modern performing art-form it is today, giving a background on the instruments, the history and culture, through to rhythms and technique.

Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers - biography

Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers are the UK’s longest established taiko ensemble, and Europe’s only professional touring company of this thrilling & energetic performing art. With over 1,000 performances across the UK, Japan & Europe over the last decade, Mugenkyo have established a solid reputation for their gritty passionate style, setting themselves firmly at the forefront of Taiko drumming on this continent through their rigorous touring.

Mugenkyo’s main work is touring a full-length theatre concert, performing at prestigious venues including London Queen Elizabeth Hall, Gateshead Sage, Cardiff St. David’s Hall, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Brighton Theatre Royal, Glasgow Pavilion Theatre, and the Edinburgh Usher Hall amongst others. The group also perform on outdoor stages at a wide variety of music festivals, produce commissions for large-scale multi-media events, have released a range of CDs & DVDs, and have appeared on television programmes such as the Brit Awards & BBC Last Night of the Proms.

Mugenkyo present taiko as a modern & theatrical performing art, with precise choreography, dramatic lighting, and a variety of costumes ranging from the post-apocalyptic industrial to gorgeous earthy silks. The concert is extremely diverse: powerful rhythms on an array of instruments from small hand-held drums to the thunderous reverberations of the huge Odaiko big drum, delicate bamboo flute, soulful voice, layers of percussive soundscapes, and innovative dance tightly integrated with the taiko drums.

Mugenkyo forge a new musical path, developing the genre in new directions with both their own concert performance & their wide-ranging artistic collaborations, truly living up to their name “limitless reverberation”.

5pm – 5.50pm / RNCM Concert Hall

Session 6: Improve Your Groove with Ralph Salmins

Ralph demonstrates how to work on time-playing, create sound that is appropriate for the music, and develop authentic playing in different styles.

Ralph Salmins - biography

Ralph’s signature groove has made him drummer of choice for producers and composers worldwide and he has performed or recorded with Paul McCartney, Bjork, Robbie Williams, George Martin, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Madonna, James Brown, Jacob Collier, James Morrison, Chaka Khan, Lady Gaga, Dionne Warwick, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Burt Bacharach, Alison Krauss, Sheryl Crow, The Beach Boys, Michel Legrand and many more. Ralph toured the world in Van Morrison’s band from 1995-1999, recording four albums with him. He has played on the soundtracks to over 180 movies, including Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Askhaban, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Moulin Rouge and Lord of The Rings: Return Of The King. Ralph was a member of The Waterboys from 2011- 2021 recording and touring internationally with the band.

Ralph’s love of jazz has led to work with some of the legends of the art form that include The Count Basie Orchestra, Mose Allison, Herb Ellis, Art Farmer, Jon Hendricks, John Lewis, Joe Lovano, Wynton Marsalis, James Moody, Mark Murphy, Annie Ross, Jimmy Witherspoon and Joe Williams. Ralph acted as consultant for the London Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012, coordinating 1,000 drummers with whom he performed to an audience of over 1 billion.

A committed educator, Ralph is Professor of Drum Kit at The Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London and gives masterclasses elsewhere on a regular basis.

Ralph shares his studio, The Bunker, with Haydn Bendall where they work together and independently on many and varied projects. He has a lifelong passion for recording and is recognised for his expertise in recording drums in particular.

6.00pm – 6.30pm / Carole Nash Recital Room

Mallet Light Workshop with Simone Rebello

Open to all Day of Percussion ticket holders, limited capacity.  Please sign up at the RNCM Percussion desk on the Lower Concourse.

This session is a repeat of the earlier workshop.


7pm – 9pm / RNCM Theatre

Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers: Tribe 

As Europe’s longest-established taiko group, Mugenkyo’s global tribe of performers present a captivating performance of sharp synchronisation, dramatic choreography and powerful rhythms on huge taiko drums. Find out more about the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers here.