Kimberly Toscano was named Principal Timpanist with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in May 2007 and joined the orchestra for the start of the 2007 – 2008 season.
Ms. Toscano enjoys a varied career, having performed as percussionist and timpanist with a number of orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Chamber Orchestra of Boston.
Ms. Toscano’s interest in chamber music, particularly new works for percussion, has led to the inaugural St. Andrew’s Bach Society commission for percussion and oboe as well as her collaboration with TSO Concertmaster, Aaron Boyd, in which they presented a UA Faculty Artist Series concert of commissions written specifically for this pairing.
Since being in Tucson, Ms. Toscano has presented annual solo and chamber music recitals throughout Arizona, including a recent performance of Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion as part of the UA Faculty Artist Series. In addition, she has appeared as Artist in Residence at the renowned Miraval Resort and Spa where she offered daily practice sessions and concerts for guests of the resort.
As a published author, Ms. Toscano has recently joined the staff of Tomtom Magazine as Orchestral Correspondent. This publication and website is the only one of its kind and is dedicated exclusively to female drummers and percussionists.
As a fellowship recipient of prestigious music festivals nationally and internationally, Ms. Toscano has attended the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan and the National Orchestral Institute in College Park, Maryland where she shared the stage with such esteemed conductors as Riccardo Muti, Valerie Gergiev, and Andrey Boreyko and collaborated with the musicians of the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as the principal players of major orchestras throughout the United States.
A native of New York, Ms. Toscano holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Hofstra University, where she graduated cum laude and was granted membership into the national music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda, and the Golden Key International Honour Society. She then went on to attend the New England Conservatory where she received a Master of Music in Percussion Performance, graduating with Academic Honors. Upon completing her Masters Degree, she continued her post-graduate studies at New England Conservatory. Ms. Toscano was then invited to attend Carnegie Mellon University’s Performance Residency Program, which she participated in for one year, before being hired by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Having received multiple honors and distinctions throughout her career, Ms. Toscano was featured in Golden Key International Honour Society’s April 2008 eNewsletter as an outstanding Alumna. The article highlighted her accomplishment as Principal Timpanist of an orchestra as a rarity among females. Later, in April 2010, Ms. Toscano was again honored as a distinguished Alumna of Hofstra University.
A passionate educator, Ms. Toscano was thrilled to join the percussion faculty at University of Arizona in fall 2008 as Adjunct Professor of Percussion. She was recently appointed to serve as Acting Director of Percussion for fall 2011. In addition, Ms. Toscano maintains a private percussion studio and is an active clinician and mentor for young musicians in the greater Tucson area.
Ms. Toscano can be heard on Analekta Records and is a proud Evans Drumheads Concert Artist.
What music is on your iPod?
Quite literally, everything from Bach to Beyonce
What was your first musical experience as performer or audience member?
I was enrolled in dancing school from age 2, so my very first musical experience was my tap dance recital as a very terrified toddler!
Why did you choose your instrument?
I came to love my instrument from a rather unorthodox direction. I was originally a classically trained guitarist who loved percussion. I became known as a utility musician in high school, as I marched in the drum line, played timpani for the chorus, played guitar for various services, and also sang. When I began my undergraduate degree and had both a guitar and percussion teacher who required 10 hours of practice each day, I realized I had to finally choose, and I felt completely pulled toward percussion.
What is your favorite music to perform? Genre or specific piece
I’m not sure I have an absolute favorite. Of all the things I have done and continue to do in music, I really do love being the timpanist of an orchestra. The energy shared on the stage is unparalleled, and I love the role I play in the function of the orchestra. If I had to name some particularly memorable moments on stage, I was playing the music of Sibelius, Beethoven, Mahler, and Stravinsky.
What do you do besides music?
I run after my dogs! I love to cook and spend time with my family.
Where did you go to school?
I received by Bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University in New York, my Master’s degree and post-graduate studies from New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, and I was then invited to do a residency at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.
What are your favorite places in Tucson?
I love Maynard’s, La Encantada, and various parks, but mostly I just love being outside in Tucson. I love that I can spend most days of the year outside and look in one direction or another and see beautiful sky and beautiful mountains. It’s something I never take for granted.
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