"I just listened to it [Tight Sweater],...you sound fantastic! What marimba chops, really great and thoughtful playing!"
-Marc Mellits, Composer
Described as a "true musical talent and professional" (Ivan Trevino, Composer), Eric Willie has a varied career as a solo performer, chamber musician, orchestral player, arranger, and teacher. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, at several Percussive Arts Society International Conventions, and on regional live broadcasts, such as Nashville's NPR Station "Live In Studio C."
Dr. Willie regularly performs with the Nief-Norf Project and the Legal Wood Project. Most recently, he opened the 2016 Percussive Arts Society's International Convention (PASIC) with a performance of Franco Donatoni's "Mari" for Solo Marimba. He has performed at the Big Ears Music Festival, eight PASICs, multiple Eastern Trombone Workshops, the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, the World Saxophone Congress, and the Music for All National Percussion Festival. As an orchestral musician, he is a section member of the Winston-Salem Symphony, and has additionally performed as a percussionist with the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Ballet Orchestra, Greensboro Symphony, Roanoke Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, Murfreesboro Symphony, Bryan Symphony, and the Beloit/Janesville Symphony.
An avid promoter of new music for percussion, Eric recently commissioned and performed the world premiere of "Flow," by Ivan Trevino at the 2013 Percussive Arts Society's International Convention. Prior, Eric performed the world premiere of John Mackey's "Drum Music" (2011), a concerto for solo percussion and wind ensemble. In addition, Eric has commissioned and/or premiered works by Christopher Adler, Michael Burritt, Doug Bristol, Eric Cha-Beach, Elliott Cole, Greg Danner, Christopher Deane, Paul Lansky, Anna Meadors, Marc Mellits, Leroy Osmon, John Psathas, Josh Quillen, Baljinder Sekhon, Adam Silverman, D.J. Sparr, Jason Treuting, Blake Tyson, Alejandro Viñao, Matt Walker, Jamie Whitmarsh, and James Wood.
Active within the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), Eric currently serves as Chair of the International Percussion Ensemble Committee and Vice President for the North Carolina Chapter of the Society. In addition, Eric has initiated and coordinate the PASIC International All-Star Percussion Ensemble, served as President and Vice-President for the Tennessee Chapter of PAS, as a New Literature and Recordings Reviewer for Percussive Notes journal, and has hosted three Days of Percussion.
In addition to his talents as a classical percussionist, Eric is known for his marching percussion arranging and teaching experience. He has served as a Percussion Consultant with the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps (2012-2013), and instructor and/or arranger for the Spirit, Southwind, Carolina Crown, and the Madison Scouts drum and bugle corps. The University of North Texas, University of Kentucky, and the Murray State University Drum Lines have performed his marching percussion arrangements. He has also instructed for the University of North Texas "A" Line, Music City Mystique, and as Faculty for the Music for All World Percussion Symposium. As a clinician, Eric has appeared at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL, several days of percussion, as well as several state music educators' conventions throughout the midwest and southeastern United States. His educational articles have appeared in The Instrumentalist and Percussive
Notes, and he has contributed educational resources to Innovative Percussion, Inc., Sabian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, and Black Swamp Percussion. His music has been published by Innovative Percussion and TapSpace publications.
Currently, Eric is the newly appointed Director of Percussion Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he directs a comprehensive percussion program. He directs the classical percussion ensemble and steel band, and serves as a member of the graduate faculty.
Eric and his wife, Rebecca (assitant concertmaster with the Winston-Salem Symphony), reside in Greensboro, NC, with their son Aiden, daughter Elina, dog Lucy, and their cats Mouki and Peaches.