Rich Holly currently holds the position of Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University. A Professor of Percussion at NIU since 1983, he has also held administrative positions within the NIU School of Music as Director of the Jazz Camp, Graduate Coordinator, and Assistant Director.
Rich remains active as a solo performer and clinician, and has appeared over 300 times at schools, colleges, universities, conventions and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. Rich received his formal training at the State University of New York at Potsdam and East Carolina University. His principal teachers were Henry Gates, Howie Mann, James Petercsak, and Harold Jones. In addition, Rich studied Brazilian percussion with Manoel Monteiro, Afro-Cuban drumming with Frank Malabe, and West African drumming with Abraham Adzenyah and Famoudou Konate.
Rich was a founding member of the Abraxas Percussion Group, and has performed with the Long Island Holiday Festival Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of New York, and the North Carolina Symphony. For 11 seasons Rich was Timpanist of the Illinois Chamber Symphony.
As a drumset artist, Rich has appeared with Allen Vizzutti, John Fedchock, Dave Samuels, Bill Molenhof, Ethel Merman, Red Skelton, Bob McGrath and Sesame Street and many others. From 1984 to 2000 Rich played drumset and percussion with Inner City recording artists Rhythmic Union.
Rich’s articles have appeared in almost every major music journal, and from 1986 to 2002 he was Associate Editor for Percussive Notes magazine. His published percussion compositions are sold around the world, and he is currently the Immediate Past President of the Percussive Arts Society, the world’s largest society for percussionists with over 9000 members in 75 chapters worldwide (www.pas.org).
His guest appearances are sponsored in part by Yamaha Music Corporation of America, Sabian Cymbals, Ltd., and Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, and he is a member of the Latin Percussion Educational Advisory Board.
Mr. Holly’s current and recent music research is in the area of world percussion. Other research interests include how teams and organizations work, and recruitment and retention strategies for institutions of higher education.