Frank Epstein founded Collage New Music in 1972, and he was the ensemble’s music director for twenty years. He now continues in a leadership role as President of Collage. As music director, Frank guided the commissioning and performances of more than 200 new works, and has produced seventeen of the ensemble’s recordings. As a percussionist, Frank recorded with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and, of course, Collage New Music.
A native of Holland, Frank studied percussion at the University of Southern California, New England Conservatory, and Tanglewood Music Center; his percussion teachers included Robert Sonner, Earl Hatch, Murray Spivack, William Kraft, and Everett Firth. He was a member of the San Antonio Symphony and, in 1968, joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra—while still a student at NEC—with which he remained a member until his retirement in 2011. For more than 25 years, Frank led the percussion curriculum at the Tanglewood Music Center, and for twice as long has been on the faculty of NEC. He was, for many years, Chair of the NEC Brass and Percussion Department, and he founded and directs the NEC Percussion Ensemble.
Frank is also a consultant for Avedis Zildjian Company, where he focuses on new product development, including the company’s Classical Orchestral Cymbal Selection. He has also developed a variety of percussion instruments, including the Symphonic Castanet—now used worldwide—as well as other gadgets that make facilitate the work of the professional percussionist. He is the author of Cymbalisms, an authorative and imaginative book on the art of orchestral cymbal playing that has received international acclaim, and he frequently conducts percussion workshops and seminars all over the world.
In recognition of his work with Collage New Music, the New England Conservatory awarded Frank Epstein its Presidential Commendation.