Don Liuzzi was born and raised in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and completed high school at the Franklin Learning Center in Philadelphia. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan and his Master of Music degree from Temple University. Before joining The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1989, Mr. Liuzzi was a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony percussion section from 1982 to 1989. While in Pittsburgh he taught percussion and conducted the percussion ensemble at Duquesne University, was Assistant Conductor of the Three Rivers Young People Orchestra, and appeared on PBS' nationally-syndicated "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," performing marimba and percussion solos. Locally, Mr. Liuzzi has been a percussionist with the Network for New Music and has recorded contemporary chamber works for the CRI label. He has given master classes in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Argentina and most of Asia. For several seasons he has been a percussion and timpani coach at the National Orchestra Institute. He joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in January 1994.
In 1997, Don Liuzzi performed a master class at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Los Angeles. Yamaha worked to help him have timpani there and was excited to have Don Liuzzi perform on Yamaha drums for his masterclass. Then a conversation started about designing professional model timpani that he could use in the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as other orchestral settings. In 2001 and 2002, he came to Yamaha's headquarter in Hamamatsu, Japan three times to help with the process, giving his insight towards obtaining a beautiful and warm sound that would blend well with the Orchestra. Since then, Don Liuzzi has been happy with blend of Yamaha timpani with the Orchestra as well as other orchestral settings on a regular basis.
Other Percussion Artists
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Percussion Section
The Orchestra plays for nearly all performances given by The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet on the main stage of the Royal Opera House, under Music Directors Antonio Pappano (The Royal Opera) and Koen Kessels (The Royal Ballet).
A talented vibraphonist and marimba player, Dave Samuels has gained his greatest fame for his many years with Spyro Gyra. He started on his first instrument, the drums, when he was six, but by the time he attended Boston University (from which he graduated with a psychology degree), he was studying mallet instruments.