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Holly, Rich

Rich Holly is a drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, arts leader and arts consultant. With performance credits around the world, award-winning audio and film productions, and decades of both university and nonprofit leadership experience, Rich is a frequent consultant for artists and arts organizations.

From 2015 - 2023, Rich was the Executive Director for the Arts at NC State University. Prior to his appointment at NC State, Rich served as the Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University, where he was also Professor of Percussion for 32 years. Rich began his career in higher education as the Director of Percussion and Jazz at Western Colorado University.

Rich has been active in numerous arts ventures. Currently serving as a board member for Music Therapy of the Rockies, Rich was recently Chair of the Board of Directors of Triangle ArtWorks, and currently serves as a member of the President’s Advisory Board for Triangle Youth Music and on the Advisory Board of The NEXT Festival of Emerging Artists. Active in the Percussive Arts Society, Rich served as the President of PAS in 2005 and 2006 and currently serves on the Council of Past Presidents and the Board of Advisors. 

Rich’s production credits include serving as Session Producer for several releases by the MusicEducatorsDR label, Executive Producer of The Nile Project’s 2019 award-winning release Tana, and Executive Producer and music arranger for the full-length feature film The $30,000 Bequest. He composed and performed the music for the multiple award-winning film All the Possibilities.

As a percussionist, Rich remains active as a solo performer and clinician, and has appeared over 400 times at schools, colleges, universities, conventions and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Asia and South America. Rich received his formal training at the Crane School of Music of the State University of New York at Potsdam and East Carolina University.

Rich was a founding member of the Abraxas Percussion Group, and has performed with the Long Island Holiday Festival Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of New York, and the North Carolina Symphony. For 11 seasons Rich was Timpanist of the Illinois Chamber Symphony.

As a drumset artist, Rich has appeared with Allen Vizzutti, John Fedchock, Ethel Merman, Red Skelton, Bob McGrath and Sesame Street, Petey Pablo, Terminator X, and many others. From 1984 to 1999 Rich played drums and percussion with Inner City recording artists Rhythmic Union. Rich’s articles have appeared in almost every major music journal, and from 1986 to 2002 he was the Associate Editor for Percussive Notes magazine. His published percussion compositions are sold around the world, and his popular book, “Majoring in Music: All the Stuff You Need to Know,” is available from booksellers world-wide. His guest appearances are sponsored in part by Yamaha Music Corporation of America, Sabian Cymbals, Ltd., Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, and Latin Percussion (LP Music).