Dan Savell

Modern Dance Class Music

Dan Savell has been playing music since the age of four and playing percussion since the age of thirteen. He began playing steel drums ten years ago while at Fullerton College (in Southern California) and immediately took to the instrument. While at Fullerton College, he played with Big Bamboo Steel Band and performed with renowned pan greats Ken Philmore, Robert Greenidge, and Boogsie Sharpe. He began doing solo steel drum performances soon after. In 1996 he transferred to California Institute of the Arts in Valencia and studied with percussion maestro John Bergamo.  There he studied improvisation with trumpeter Leo Smith and guitarist Larry Koonse. Dan has visited Trinidad twice, performing with “Phase II” and “Desperadoes” Steelbands in Panorama, the annual competition that occurs during Carnival. Dan graduated from Cal Arts in 1998 with his Bachelors degree in Percussion. Since then he has become a full- time professional steel drum player, performing regularly at private and public events. Recently, he was hired as the steel drum consultant on the hit NBC TV show, “The Office”.  

On the general percussion side, Dan’s performances also keep him busy. In 2004, Dan  completed the world premiere run of “The Peachblossom Fan” at the REDCAT theatre in downtown Los Angeles and can be heard in the Original Cast Recording for this show with composer Stephin Merritt. He also plays drumset professionally, and has performed regularly with Broadway star Neile Adams, jazz icon Kim Richmond, Circo Mundial (the National Hispanic Circus), and the late magician Harry Blackstone Jr., as well as performing in over twenty musical productions in the Los Angeles area. Dan was the staff percussionist for the Cal Arts dance department from 2004-2006. He released his album “Velocity in Texture: Percussion for the Modern Dance Class” in 2007. His article, “Getting Around the Double Seconds” will be published in the Percussive Arts Society journal in 2007.

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