Leo Taylor, Percussion

Leo Taylor began his position as Principal Percussionist of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in the 2021-2022 season. Additionally, he serves as Principal Timpanist with the West Michigan Symphony, appointed in 2019. He is an instructor of percussion with Augustana University and the University of Sioux Falls.

Prior to these positions, Leo was a percussionist with the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra from 2019-2021. He was an Associate Timpanist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2018-2020 as well as an Associate Percussionist for the 2017-2018 season.

He has served as an extra timpanist/percussionist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Omaha Symphony, and the Sioux City Symphony, among others. He has shared the stage with Yo-Yo Ma, Jamey Haddad, Cyro Baptista, Michael Ward-Bergeman, Mark O'Connor, Zakir Hussain, Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg, Aldo Lopez-Gavilan, Tessa Lark, and Byron Stripling.

Leo has performed with conductors Matthias Pintscher, Marin Alsop, Emil de Cou, Rafael Payare, Ankush Kumar Bahl, Francesco Lecce-Chong, Gerard Schwarz, and Edwin Outwater. While an associate member with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, he had the opportunity to perform in an open rehearsal with Riccardo Muti conducting.

During the centennial season with the SDSO, he had the opportunity to work closely with composers John Luther Adams, David M. Gordon and Malek Jandali on their respective world premier works.

He was the third-place winner of the Modern Snare Drum Competition in 2017 and was the runner up in 2018.

Leo Taylor’s teachers include Vadim Karpinos, Edward Harrison, Eric Millstein, David Herbert, Matthew Decker, John Shaw, Eric Schweikert, Jeffrey Jones, and Gerald Noble.

He earned his Master’s in Orchestral Studies from Roosevelt University-Chicago College of Performing Arts, Bachelor of Music from DePaul University, and holds a diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy.


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