Jason Baker serves as Professor of Percussion Studies at Mississippi State University, arranger/coordinator for the MSU Drumline, and Recruiting Coordinator for the Department of Music. He holds degrees from the University of North Texas, New England Conservatory of Music, and University of Connecticut. His current performance interests focus on commissioning solo percussion music by emerging composers from the American South.
Jason has commercially released four solo albums, three etude books, and over 30 arrangements and compositions - many of which are included on solo and ensemble music lists throughout the United States. His works have been performed at the Modern Snare Drum Competition, Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, Kaohsiung Band Festival in Taiwan, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.
Jason is timpanist of the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, and Starkville Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Meridian (MS) Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been a clinician and/or performer at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, New York City Day of Percussion, Encontro Percussivo Festival in Brazil, College Music Society National Conference, Texas Music Educators Association Convention, All-West Tennessee Music Educators Convention, Mississippi Bandmasters Association Convention, and universities throughout the United States. Jason also performs with the Brooklyn Composers' Syndicate and served as a faculty member at the Sam Houston Summer Percussion Academy.
Jason is Associate Editor of New Literature Reviews for Percussive Notes and previously served as chair of the College Pedagogy Committee and president of the Mississippi Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. He was a performing member with the Glassmen, Boston Crusaders, and Connecticut Hurricanes Drum and Bugle Corps and later served on the instructional staff of the Boston Crusaders. Jason is proud to be an artist for the Yamaha Corporation of America, Innovative Percussion, Remo, Sabian, and Grover Pro Percussion.
Jason is an avid long-distance runner and lives in Starkville, Mississippi with his wife and two children. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from MSU, where he was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma honor fraternity.
Ben Neal is Adjunct Instructor of Percussion at Mississippi State University and Assistant Director of Bands/Director of Percussion at East Mississippi Community College. As an educator/clinician, he has taught extensively in high schools from Mississippi, Alabama, and New Mexico. Ben has performed with the New Mexico State University Philharmonic as a soloist, and substitute percussionist with the Las Cruces Symphony. He is currently a substitute percussionist with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.
Ben holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Delta State University in Cleveland, MS, and a Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. His teachers include Fred Bugbee, Josh Armstrong, Bryan Mitchell, Will Curry, and Ronnie Mckeown.
Ben lives in Starkville, MS with his wife, their dog, Izzy, and their three cats, Sasha, Viktor, and Loki.
Ben proudly endorses Artifact Sticks and Mallets.