MEET THE ORCHESTRA

ERNEST MUZQUIZ | percussion

Ernest Múzquiz is a native of Moore, Texas (40 miles south of San Antonio) and attended Texas
A & I University (now Texas A & M – Kingsville) where he received his B.M. in 1970. He
followed his dream to become a symphony orchestra musician by crossing the country to do
graduate work at the Eastman School of Music, where he received his M.M. in 1971. Before
joining the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra (SSO) in 1974, he was awarded the Eastman School’s
highest award: the Performer’s Certificate, which entitled him to perform a concerto with the
school’s premier symphony orchestra.
His main percussion teachers were Dr. Joseph L. Bellamah (Texas A & I), John Beck (Eastman),
James Dotson (San Antonio Symphony) and Leigh Howard Stevens (virtuoso marimba artist). In
1978 he turned down an invitation from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to become its
principal percussionist in order to accept Maestro Christopher Keene’s invitation to serve as the
SSO’s Assistant Conductor and director of the Syracuse Symphony Youth Orchestra (SSYO).
Múzquiz has also performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony (Previn, Maazel), the Baltimore
Symphony (Commissiona, Fleischer), and the Rochester Philharmonic (Zinman, Samuel
Jones). As timpanist, he performed with the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra in Greensboro, NC
(1975), and for a decade with the Skaneateles Festival. He served as percussion instructor at
Syracuse University from 1974 to 1994 and also as conductor of the S.U. Summer Orchestra
(1980-2000).
He is married to Alice Valentine (Lee ) who has served as Chief Accompanist at the S.U. Drama
Department and as accompanist for Dr. Barbara Marble Tagg’s Syracuse Children’s Chorus. His
daughter, Minerva, currently lives in NYC and works as in the DeBlasio administration in
Children’s Services. His three stepsons live in Providence, New Haven and Berlin, Germany.
He gives special thanks to several colleagues and teachers who were influential in his career: Dr.
Everett Gates (music education chair, Eastman); Dr. Merton Johnson (conductor, Texas A & I);
Herb Flower (former principal percussionist, SSO), Douglas Igelsrud (former principal
timpanist, SSO), Dave Mancini (drummer with Doc Severinsen, Maynard Ferguson, Chuck
Mangione, Maureen McGovern, et al.); James Petercsak (percussion director, SUNY-Potsdam);
William Quick (former principal percussionist, Israel Chamber Orchestra); David Ross (SSO
bassoonist, retired, and master engraver of music); James Saporito (Broadway-based
percussionist and Latin music expert); John Soroka (former principal percussionist, Pittsburgh
Symphony), Gordon Stout (world-renowned marimba artist, predominant composer of music for
the marimba, and director of percussion at Ithaca College), Dr. David Russell Williams
(professor of theory, Eastman); Dean Witten (Broadway-based percussionist and percussion
director, Rowan University), former students Michael W. Bull and Laurance Luttinger, (now his
professional colleagues), and last but not least, the late Helen S. Boatwright — doyen of vocal
music in CNY (his last major teacher for voice, as well as for valuable life’s lessons).

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