Meet the Judges


Ji Hye Jung photo

Ji Hye Jung- Audio Round Judge

Korean born Ji Hye Jung is Associate Professor of Percussion at the University of Kansas. She began concertizing at the age of nine since performing over 100 concerts as soloist with major Korean orchestras. After moving to the United States in 2004, she won first prizes at the 2006 Linz International Marimba Competition and the 2007 Yale Gordon Concerto Competition in Baltimore. In 2006, under the baton of David Robertson, she was a soloist an all Messiaen program in Zankel Hall and shortly thereafter featured soloist with the Houston Symphony conducted by Music Director Hans Graf.

Ji Hye has presented solo recitals and masterclasses at the Rice University, Peabody Conservatory, Curtis Institute of Music, Schlewig-Holstein Festival in Germany, Grachtenfestival in Holland, Seoul Arts Center, and Beijing Central Conservatory. She has commissioned and premiered new works by several important composers, such as Michael Torke, Martin Bresnick, Kevin Puts, Alejandro Viñao, Paul Lansky, John Serry and Lucas Ligeti. As Principal Percussionist with West Coast based Camerata Pacifica she has premiered several major works by Huang Ruo and Bright Sheng.

Jung completed her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and a Bachelor’s degree at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University both under the tutelage of Prof. Robert Van Sice.  As an artist endorser, she represents Pearl/Adams instruments, Vic Firth sticks, and Zildjian cymbals.



Tom Burritt – Live Round Judge

There are storied educators, and there are dynamic performers, and then there are those who are destined to be both. Always in search of new music and new ways to share it with others, Thomas Burritt is today’s percussionist. He has received degrees from Ithaca College School of Music (BM – Education and Performance), Kent State University (MM), and Northwestern University (DMA). Active in the creation and performance of new music for percussion Burritt has built a reputation in chamber music, as a percussion soloist and a concert marimbist. He has performed regularly at the Leigh Howard Stevens International Marimba Seminar and was a featured faculty performer at the 2007 and 2009 Zeltsman Marimba Festival. In April 2004 Burritt performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall as member of the Hammers and Sticks Ensemble. Later the same year the Hammers and Sticks Ensemble released a CD on the Innova label featuring works by Steven Mackey, Zhou Long, Alvin Singleton, Alex Shapiro, Joseph Harchanko and Belinda Reynolds.

As Percussion Soloist Burritt has been active performing percussion concertos by Maki Ishii, Steve Mackey, Joseph Schwantner, Michael Dougherty, David Maslanka, John Mackey, and James MacMillan. Burritt has recorded for guitarist Eric Johnson and recording artist David Byrne. Burritt’s first solo CD recording: “All Times Identical – New American Music for Marimba” was released in November 2006. His 2nd solo marimba recording “Groundlines” is available in iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Rdio and Spotify. In August of 2015, Burritt released his latest recording via YouTube, featuring a video album of J. S. Bach’s 5th Cello Suite performed on the Marimba. In 2009 and 2016, Burritt performed on two Grammy nominated recordings: “Conspirare in Concert” and “Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings”, both distributed world wide on the harmonia mundi label. In the spring of 2012, Burritt was cited as being one of “The most influential Music Professors on Twitter”. Follow @tburritt

He is currently Professor of Percussion and Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and is a clinician/endorser for Majestic PercussionInnovative PercussionZildjianRemoBeetle Percussion and Grover Pro Percussion.



Andrea Venet – Live Round Judge

Dr. Andrea Venet is the Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of North Florida where she directs the UNF percussion ensemble, teaches applied lessons, pedagogy, methods and percussion literature. Dr. Venet holds a DMA in Performance and Literature with a minor in Pedagogy, and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. Dr. Venet received her Masters in Percussion Performance from Rutgers University and a Bachelors of Music from Arizona State University. As a passionate educator, Dr. Venet’s research involves pedagogy, with focus on college percussion education at various levels, classical improvisation and historically informed Baroque performance practice techniques for Bach on marimba.
As an international soloist, Dr. Venet has performed at the 5 th Annual Marimba Competition in Stuttgart, Perkumania Paris International Marimba Competition, as well as taking 2nd prize at the 2013 PAS KoSA Solo Marimba Competition at New York University. Additionally, Dr. Venet has been a featured soloist with the Eastman Percussion Ensemble, a member of the award winning Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps, performed with Grammy winning alternative band TOOL and has collaborated with composers Michael Burritt, Alejandro Viñao, Ivan Trevino, Emmanuel Séjourné, Joe Locke, Steve Danyew, Steve Ridley and Drew Worden.

Dr. Venet’s percussion duo Escape Ten actively performs around the country as Malletech artists, and has their own publication series of new percussion duos through Keyboard Percussion Publications (KPP). In addition to a showcase concert at the 2016 PASIC Convention, Escape Ten gave the world premier of their commission, 2300 Degrees by Ivan Trevino in Atlanta’s Spivey Hall. Escape Ten has been featured artists at the Barnes Foundation, the 35th and 36th Annual Leigh Howard Stevens Marimba Seminars, the McCormick Marimba Festival, Minnesota Percussion Association Day of Percussion, University of Central Arkansas, University of North Carolina, Southeast Missouri State, Virginia Tech, the International Trombone Festival, Christopher Newport University, the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference and at the Virginia Humanities Conference at Roanoke College.

Dr. Venet is a performing Malletech artist, endorses Remo and DREAM Cymbals, and is a member of the Percussive Arts Society. In addition to serving on the PAS Keyboard Committee, she is a member of the MPI Editorial Board, and her arrangements can be found through Keyboard Percussion Publications (KPP).


Dr. David Steffens- Live Round Judge

Dr. David Steffens- Live Round Judge

Dr. David Steffens is principal percussionist of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. He is a recording artist, clinician, educator and champion of new music who has directed the percussion program at the Bass School since 1997.

As a founding member of the Robert Hohner Percussion Ensemble, Steffens is featured on four internationally released CDs on the DMP recording label — Different Strokes, The Gamut, The World Music Tour, and Lift-Off – and on Albany Records’ The Percussion Music of David Maslanka. A Percussive Notes review of Different Strokesdeclared: “This might well be the most artistic balance and blend of percussion music ever recorded.”

In 2005, Steffens recorded Lost Luggage – a five-movement work for solo marimba he commissioned from composer Edward Knight – for the CD Where The Sunsets Bleed, also released by Albany.

Steffens has performed with the Midland Symphony, West Shore Symphony Orchestra, Greater Lansing Symphony, Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Schlossfestspiele in Heidelberg, Germany. He is a frequent guest artist and has presented master classes and percussion clinics on campuses nationwide.

Under Steffens’ leadership, Oklahoma City University’s Percussion Ensemble has performed works ranging from a Red Norvo tribute in Austin to a regional premiere of Stravinsky’s Les Noces to a Maslanka work at the national SCI convention. He has built collaborative partnerships with local artists. In 2004, the Percussion Ensemble appeared with Canterbury Choral Society and Ballet Oklahoma in Tango Take Three, at Oklahoma City’s historic Civic Center.  Rick Rogers of The Daily Oklahoman singled out the percussionists for special praise: “An unexpected surprise was the OCU Percussion Ensemble, an accomplished group of instrumentalists ably directed by David Steffens. Many in the audience were no doubt unfamiliar with the myriad sounds capable of such a group, but multiple mallet keyboards produce impressive sonorities that turned their featured number into a showstopper.”  In 2005, the Percussion Ensemble reprised its collaboration with Canterbury to power the “World Harmonies” concert at the Civic Center.

He received his Performer’s Certificate and his DMA from Eastman School of Music. He is a faculty member at the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain and has taught at Michigan State, Central Michigan University, and the Eastman School of Music. He is president of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.

He is an artist/clinician for Black Swamp Percussion, Bosphorus Cymbals, Vic Firth, and Yamaha.