David Herbert is currently principal timpani of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Prior to joining CSO, he served as principal timpani of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and the New World Symphony. He has nearly three decades of experience performing and recording all of the Mahler Symphonies, including international and domestic tours and critically acclaimed recordings.
Herbert has been featured as a guest artist with many of North America’s premier ensembles including the Pittsburg Symphony and St. Louis Symphony; with the latter orchestra he made his professional solo debut after winning its young artist competition in 1991. He has appeared as timpani concerto soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony and the New World Symphony. He performed the world premiere of William Kraft’s Grand Encounter Timpani Concerto No. 2 in 2005 with the San Francisco Symphony—a commission, written specifically for him. With the SFS, he has performed as soloist in Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ and Percussion, William Kraft’s Timpani Concerto No. 1 and Michael Tilson Thomas’s Island Music.
Sought after internationally as a chamber musician and clinician, he has conducted master classes throughout North America, Japan, China, and Europe. He has been a featured clinician at numerous Percussive Arts Society International Conventions and is currently a faculty member at Northwestern University. He has also taught at the Boston Conservatory, the Music Academy of the West and frequently at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan as an international percussion instructor.
David holds a bachelor’s degree from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree from The Juilliard School where he was a scholarship student of Roland Kohloff. Highlights of his early career include performing under Leonard Bernstein’s direction as a Tanglewood Music Fellow and with Lorin Maazel as principal timpanist for an extensive European tour with the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra. Lately, he has enjoyed a varied performance schedule including performances and recordings with the heavy metal rock band Metallica, an international tour with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, numerous principal timpani appearances with the Kozerthausorchester Berlin and also as a special guest artist with the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra in Osaka, Japan. Since 2007, he has performed as principal timpanist with the Aspen Festival Orchestra at the Aspen Music Festival and School.