Larry Reese


American-born timpanist and percussionist Larry Reese is a graduate of The Juilliard School in New York and The Royal College of Music in London. He has been the Section Principal Timpanist of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra since 1998.

Larry has performed in America, Europe, Asia, and Australia as principal timpanist with such ensembles as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, The Washington Chamber Symphony, The Hallé Orchestra, The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, The Israel Philharmonic, The Philly Pops Orchestra, and The London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has played under such esteemed conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Leonard Bernstein, Osmo Vanska, Eric Leinsdorf, Mariss Jansons, Leonard Slatkin, Vasily Petrenko and David Zinman, to name a few.

During his tenure in the NZSO, Larry has played on over 70 commercial recordings on the Sony, Rattle, Naxos and EMI labels, with total sales of over one million records.  The NZSO earned their first Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance in 2015 for a recording of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long’s Symphony ‘Humen 1839′.
During Larry’s time, the NZSO has also recorded the soundtracks to over 25 feature films, including, The Lovely Bones, Mortal Engines, the final two films in the Hobbit trilogy, and the Oscar-winning, The Lord of the Rings; The Fellowship of the Ring.

In 2007 Larry gave the world premiere of John Psathas’ concerto for timpani and orchestra, Planet Damnation in five performances around New Zealand.  Larry is on the faculty of The Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand School of Music, and the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries. He is a Yamaha Performing Artist and the current president of the New Zealand chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.

Larry plays on Adams Dresden Classic timpani, Yamaha Professional Symphonic timpani, Lefima belt-tuned machine timpani, and a varied collection of antique and historic instruments. He uses Remo Renaissance, Kalfo calfskin and Litik goatskin heads, depending on repertoire and instruments used.

OrchestraNew Zealand Symphony OrchestraTitleTimpanist and percussionist

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