Meet Tyler Mack, Principal Timpanist

Interview by Lily O’Brien
Season Chair Sponsor: The Hughes Family

Oakland native Tyler Mack has always been fascinated by the sound of a symphony orchestra. He says the experience was riveting for him as a child when he attended youth concerts. His parents originally started him on piano and he later tried the cello. Eventually, he settled on percussion — specifically timpani — pitched percussion instruments also known as kettledrums. A graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he plays with a variety of orchestras, including the Oakland Symphony and the Mendocino Orchestra, and has been the Principal Timpanist with the Marin Symphony since 1984.

Why did you choose percussion?

The number and variety of percussion instruments are endless, as are the techniques of playing them. I recently played a piece in which I had to pop balloons.

What attracted you to play timpani?

I wanted to play something where both hands were doing the same thing, instead of having one hand doing the bow, and the other hand doing the fingers. That led me to study the drums.
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