Associate Professor of Music, Director of Percussion
Applied Percussion, Percussion Ensemble, Percussion Methods, Music History, Studies in Global Music
International performing and recording artist Dr. Erik Forst is the Director of Percussion Studies at Messiah College, where he oversees all aspects of the Percussion Area, including teaching Applied Percussion, directing the Messiah College Percussion Ensemble, and teaching both graduate and undergraduate percussion methods. In addition to his duties at Messiah, Dr. Forst maintains a healthy performing schedule as a soloist and clinician both nationally and internationally, having most recently given clinics and solo performances in Hong Kong and Accra, Ghana. Dr. Forst is also in demand as a Percussionist and Timpanist throughout the East Coast, most recently being appointed the Principal Timpanist with the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra in 2018, and also performing regularly with groups such as the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, The Shippensburg Festival Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet, and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, where he served as Principal Percussionist from 2011-2013.
An ardent supporter of new music, Dr. Forst has been involved in the commissioning of several new works by composers such as Kevin Bobo, Ivan Trevino, James Romig, David Litke, Bruce Yurko, and Robert Pound. In November of 2016, Dr. Forst gave the world premiere of Kevin Bobo’s new concerto for marimba and Wind Ensemble, entitled “Architecture of a Dream,” a piece he commissioned with the assistance of a consortium of schools from across the country, and he gave the Pennsylvania Premiere of Keiko Abe’s “Song of Tree” in April of 2017 at the PA Percussive Arts Society Day of Percussion. Dr. Forst received his BMUS in Music Education from the University of Georgia in 2003, his M.M. in Performance from the University of Kansas in 2005, and his D.M.A in Performance from the University of Georgia in 2015. His teachers include Timothy K. Adams Jr., Kevin Bobo, and Dr. Thomas McCutchen. Dr. Forst is an active performer and clinician for Marimba One Marimbas, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Zildjian Cymbals, and Evans drum heads.