Portland Symphony Orchestra Principal Timpanist, John Tanzer, joined the orchestra in the Fall of 1999. Originally from New York City, he grew up in Bedford, MA. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music and graduated with honors in performance. His teachers include Everett Beale, Everett Firth and William Hudgins. At New England Conservatory, John was awarded the Tourjée Alumni Award and was also selected to be a member of an exchange program with the Toho Gakuen School in Tokyo. John was a two time Tanglewood Music Center Fellow and attended the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany. He also was a guest timpanist with the New World Symphony for their 10th anniversary tour to Europe and Florida.

When not performing with the PSO, John works as both a timpanist and percussionist. He performs frequently with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and the Boston Lyric Opera. He also performs with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and can be seen at the Hatch Shell for the July 4th concerts. With the Boston Symphony, John has worked with many of the greatest conductors and performed on 3 international and 2 domestic tours. He can be heard on several of their recordings for audio and television including the Grammy Award winning recording of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe.

John is an endorser for the Vic Firth Drumstick company. He plays on a personal set of Aehnelt Berliner timpani that were manufactured in Germany as well as hand cranked Precision Classic Timpani that were manufactured in the United States.