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Rupert Kettle

Artists/Composers - Composers K-O
Rupert Kettle

Rupert Kettle


Rupert Kettle was born in 1940, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, studied and worked in New York City from 1958 to 1968. His percussion instrument teachers from 1950 to 1958 were Walter Walski, Donald Patterson and James Salmon. From 1958 to 1963, in New York, Kettle studied with Henry Adler, Doug Allen (keyboard percussions,) and Alfred Friese (timpani). His composition and/or arranging teachers have included Henri Gibeau, Ted Maters, Teije Ito, John Cage and Richard Cone.

Since 1965, Kettle has devoted himself primarily to being a professional private teacher, first in New York, then in Grand Rapids. He maintains an extensive teaching practice, both privately and, since 1972, in conjunction with Aquinas College. He also directs the Aquinas College Percussion Group (which he founded in 1979) and instructs in percussion teaching methods at that school. Kettle's commitment to education, and his abilities as a teacher were acknowledged by Aquinas College in 2000, when the school bestowed upon him the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, honoris causa.

Kettle is the author of countless articles on percussion playing which have appeared in Downbeat, Modern Drummer, Percussive Notes, and various other magazines. His book, Drum Set Reading Method (originally published in 1968 as part of Henry Adler Series,) initially established a standardized drum set notation, in a way that has only been built upon since, as has the drum set itself (i.e., gotten larger). As of 2003, his work is also being disseminated by the composers' collective, Frog Peak Music, a prestigious group of experimental composers, including Larry Polansky, Jody Diamond, James Tenney, Phillip Corner, Anthony Braxton, the late Lou Harrison, and many others. Kettle's graphic scores have been exhibited along with concerts of his music at the Race Street Gallery, Aquinas College, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and various other western Michigan venues, and a month-long, one person show of his scores was presented at the Aquinas College Art Gallery, in 1987.

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