Department of Music


Tom Freer
Coordinator of Percussion Studies

Tom Freer is Assistant Principal Timpanist and Section Percussion with The Cleveland Orchestra since 1991. Prior to his position in Cleveland, Tom served as Principal Timpanist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Principal Timpanist with The Alabama Symphony and Principal Percussion/ Assistant Timpani with the Norrkoping Symphony in Norrkoping, Sweden. He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was the last timpani student accepted by Cloyd E. Duff and has also studied with Richard Weiner, Paul Yancich, Jim Atwood and Mario Gaetano. An active artist and clinician for Adams, Pearl, Zildjian Cymbals and Freer Percussion Products, Tom has done clinics and masterclasses throughout the United States and Europe including Yale University, Peabody Conservatory, Royal Stockholm Conservatory, Chosen Vale and of course the Duff Masterclass which is the longest running timpani seminar in history now in its 31st year. Tom has also been awarded two patents on percussion instrument designs, is the owner of Freer Percussion Products, and is head of the percussion department at Cleveland State University where his students have achieved considerable success as orchestral timpanists and percussionists over the past twenty years. He has recorded extensively and toured with some of the greatest conductors of our time, all over the world. Tom can be heard on over twenty Cleveland Orchestra recordings on the London/Decca and Deutsche Grammophon labels.

Bruce Golden
Lecturer, Percussion

Bruce Golden is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music where he received his Bachelor and Masters degrees. His principle teachers include Richard Weiner and Cloyd Duff. Bruce has also studied drum set with George Lawrence and Bodhran with Mance Grady.  Bruce served as Principal Percussionist with the Toledo Symphony, Toledo Opera and Toledo Ballet and has also played with the Cleveland Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, New Hampshire Symphony, Nashua Symphony and Indian Hill Symphony.   Bruce has served on the faculty of University of Toledo and is presently directing the Cleveland State University Percussion Ensemble.

Beginning in fall of 2012 the CSU percussion department is pleased to announce the return of Bruce Golden to the percussion faculty. Bruce will be director of the percussion ensemble as well as teaching all undergraduate students and non majors.

Gwen Burgett

Gwendolyn Patricia Burgett is currently associate professor of percussion at the Michigan State University College of Music. Burgett is passionate about educating the next generation of young musicians. She regularly gives master classes at universities throughout the US and abroad, is a percussion faculty member for the Filjarmonica Joven de Colombia and has been an instructor at the Interlochen Arts Camp since 2005.

Burgett began her musical career very early, studying piano and violin at the age of two. As a percussionist, she has maintained a career as an active solo, chamber, and orchestral musician. She has performed solo and chamber recitals throughout the United States, Asia and South America. Burgett is passionate about new music and has participated in consortium’s to commission new works from composers such as Alejandro Vinao, Peter Klatzow, Paul Lansky, Martin Bresnick, John Serry and Roshanne Etezady. She is currently principal percussionist with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with the Detroit Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Solisti New York Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Traverse Symphony Orchestra.

In January of 2012, Burgett was a recipient of the Michigan State University Teacher Scholar Award. She was the winner of the Keiko Abe Prize at the second World Marimba competition in Okaya, Japan, and the top prize winner at the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ ARTS competition. She was awarded the performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music and has also been the recipient of the Outstanding Young Musician award from the Peabody Conservatory and the Yale Alumni Award.

Burgett released her first CD in October of 2007 entitled “Marimba Suites” on the Blue Griffin label. She is currently anticipating the release of her second CD of all new, commissioned music for the marimba.

Burgett has studied with world-renowned professors Robert van Sice, Keiko Abe, and John Beck. She holds degrees from the Interlochen Arts Academy, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, and the Yale School of Music.

Beginning in fall of 2012 the CSU percussion department will add yet another world class faculty member .
Gwen Burgett will join us as an adjunct professor in percussion with emphasis on marimba and contemporary solo percussion music.

Bill Ransom
Jazz Drums
Bill Ransom Jazz Drums

Bandleader, drummer and percussionist Bill Ransom is a musical chameleon - equally at home with classical, jazz, R&B and rock. With a style described as “physical, stirring, demanding, rare and personal,” Bill has toured and recorded with leading artists including Patrice Rushen, Beth Hart, Marion Meadows, Cecil Bridgewater, Diane Reeves, Mary Wilson, and James Newton. He spent much of the 90’s on the road with contemporary saxophonist Najee and R&B crooner Gerald LeVert and was featured percussionist on Mr. LeVert’s solo debut, “Private Line.” Bill has appeared a number of theatrical productions including “Love, Janis”, under the musical direction of Big Brother & the Holding Company’s Sam Andrew who noted “¼When Bill Ransom plays the drums he looks as if he is made of rubber and he makes every time special because he acts it out.” 

For the past several years Bill has directed “Jazz Meets Hip Hop” for the Tri-C JazzFest in Cleveland, Ohio and is a consultant to both the Shaker Heights school system and Cleveland Music School Settlement. His debut CD, Generations, was released nationwide in November, 2005 on Bongo Time Records

engaged learning
Mailing Address
Cleveland State University
College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
Department of Music
2121 Euclid Avenue, MU 332
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214
Campus Location
Music and Communication Building
Room 332
2001 Euclid Ave.
Phone: 216.687.2033
Fax: 216.687.9279
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