Instructor, Percussion

Laurel Black is a percussionist and collaborative pianist finding her passions for playing and movement joyfully colliding in research, writing, performance and commissions.  She is published in Rhythm! Scene and abroad, and her blog - Laurel Black Music - has over 30,000 reads.  She presented a masterclass and performed in Showcase Concert at PASIC 2015 and in 2016 was elected to the Health and Wellness committee.

Laurel co-hosts the @ percussion podcast with Casey Cangelosi, Megan Arns, and Ben Charles, where she reports on the juxtaposition of music, psychology, and philosophy.  From 2012-2015 she was an Adjunct Professor of Music/Staff Accompanist at Concord University in WV; a highlight was creating her own course: Movement for Musicians.

Laurel was praised for her “stunning” (Percussive Notes) performance at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival in 2011, where she was invited to perform as a Showcase Artist.  She has since commissioned or premiered over a dozen works for marimba, in solo and chamber settings.  As a lover and advocate of contemporary chamber music, Laurel is a founding member of L+M Duo (pno/mar) whose debut 2016-2017 season features five concerts (and growing!).  She also founded Balletik Duo (vln/mar), which has been featured on the Equilibrium and Fifth Floor Collective concert series in Boston, MA, and held residence at Concord University in 2013.  

Laurel loves performing with her husband, percussionist/composer Casey Cangelosi.  Together they have played across the USA, in Mexico (Percusonidos), Costa Rica, and Australia (TAPS OZ).  She joined the JMU faculty in 2016.

Laurel endorses sticks and mallets by Innovative Percussion, and instruments by Majestic.

MM: The Boston Conservatory. BM: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Percussion Professors and Instructors


Caleb Pickering


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