Known for performing “with precision and an impressive attention to timbral detail” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), percussionist Jeff Stern has developed a voice to listen for in today’s contemporary music scene. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, and has collaborated with and championed the work of a number of the world’s preeminent composers. Recent premieres include Alejandro Viñao’s Stress and Flow with The Percussion Collective, James Wood’s Secret Dialogues for solo marimba, and John Luther Adams’ Sila at Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival. As a proponent for the music of our time, Stern also actively commissions works by composers of his generation, such as Thomas Kotcheff, Robert Honstein, Emma O’Halloran, and Michael Laurello.
Stern is the executive director, co-artistic director, and founding percussionist of icarus Quartet, a 2 piano/2 percussion group currently serving as KEAR Ensemble-in-Residence at Bowling Green State University. Winner of the 2019 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition, icarus is quickly gaining the attention of composers, presenters, and audiences everywhere. In addition to recording and releasing their debut album, the 2020-21 season brings iQ to Princeton Sound Kitchen, Music at the Forefront, Florida State University, the University of Florida, Community Concerts at 2nd, and more, with world premieres by Liliya Ugay and Ruby Fulton.
With The Percussion Collective, Stern has toured the United States, performed on a live broadcast for WXQR’s Midday Masterpieces, and given a featured evening performance at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. He is an extra percussionist for the Baltimore Symphony and regularly performs with several new music ensembles including Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra (CA), Mind on Fire (MD), NewPrism Ensemble (DC), NakedEye Ensemble (PA), and ensemble mise-en (NY), with whom he toured to Hong Kong in 2018. Stern has appeared at the Yellow Barn Music Festival, the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab, and can be heard on the Elm City, Bright Shiny Things, and Cantaloupe record labels.
Stern is on the percussion faculties of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Mount Saint Mary’s University, and the DMV Percussion Academy. Stern holds degrees from UMass Amherst and the Peabody Conservatory, where he was awarded the Harold Randolph Prize in Performance. He also earned an Artist Diploma at the Yale School of Music, where he studied with marimba virtuoso Robert van Sice. Stern is a proud artist endorser of Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Zildjian cymbals, Evans drumheads, and Pearl/Adams drums and percussion.