Department of Music

Terry Vermillion

I have always been attracted to improvised music, where great musicians create music in the moment as if it were flowing from their inner self. My studies of the amazingly complex traditions of Western contemporary music, Indonesian gamelan, Brazilian samba, Afro-Cuban rhumba, and the world of jazz and popular music confirm this belief.

Having established a career at the crossroads of improvised music and classical European art music, I have always been drawn to collaborations that explore a balance of compositional formality and improvisation. From recitals featuring transcriptions of semi-improvisational duets by jazz-fusion drummer Bill Bruford and new age pianist Patrick Moraz, to collaborations with electro-acoustic composer Scott Miller featuring MIDI triggered sound events in the premiere of Miller’s Improvisational Etudes for Strings, Metal, and Wood, I have always been attracted to the interactive possibilities between percussion and electro-acoustic music.

My 20-plus year career at St. Cloud State University has provided opportunity to perform with a variety of groups including:

  • Trio Lorca
  • Dallas Brass and Boston Brass
  • Merce Cunningham Dance Company
  • Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra appearing as soloist for Darius Milhaud's Concerto for Percussion and Small Orchestra
  • Ney Rosauro's Concerto for Marimba
  • Jennifer Higdon's Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra

I’ve been fortunate to have received a number of awards including:

  • National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Grant for my study with ECM recording artist Peter Erskine
  • Downbeat magazine's award for Jazz Instrumental Soloist Outstanding College Performance
  • Grand Prize in the Rocky Mountain Concerto Competition
  • 2010 Bruce and Dee Pearson Faculty Excellence Award
  •  United Arts of Central Minnesota Outstanding Educator Award for 2010

I enjoy everything musical at SCSU where I teach private lessons and direct the Percussion Ensemble and World Drumming Group. I perform regularly as timpanist with the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, Trio Lorca, and freelance around the region with a variety of popular bands. I have recently served as President of the MN Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, and the Minnesota Colleges and Universities Council for Music, and I organize the David Swenson Memorial Foundation Guest Artist Series.