Director of Percussion and Conductor of Percussion Ensemble
Colleen Bernstein is an award-winning percussionist, educator, and creative collaborator recognized for her passionate performances and impactful community engagement initiatives. As an active freelance performer in New York City, Bernstein currently plays for Broadway musicals and with acclaimed groups including American Symphony Orchestra and Talea Ensemble. She has previously collaborated with notable artists and GRAMMY winners such as Béla Fleck, International Contemporary Ensemble, Sō Percussion, Sandbox Percussion, and Silkroad Ensemble. As a soloist, Bernstein has performed a concerto with the Albany Symphony (NY), presented sets at MATA Festival, New Music Gathering, World Vibes Congress, and Oh My Ears Festival, and won prizes in international competitions including the Universal Marimba Competition (2015). Bernstein is also an original member of American Wild Ensemble, a septet that celebrates American stories and natural spaces through new music. She is the producer of Strength & Sensitivity, an initiative that utilizes contemporary music and poetry to advocate for gender equality. Alongside numerous commissioned works and solo concerts, Bernstein has directed large-scale touring productions of the project in Boston, Chicago, and Ann Arbor, MI to date. Beyond her work as a performer, Bernstein is a professor at William Paterson University and Hunter College, and the Director of Percussion for the New Jersey Youth Symphony organization. She serves as Community Engagement Coordinator for the Silkroad Ensemble’s annual Global Musician Workshop, and is currently a member of the 2023 Global Leaders Program cohort, where she is pursuing an MBA in Arts Innovation. Colleen holds degrees and certificates from the Eastman School of Music and University of Michigan, and is an artist endorser for Black Swamp Percussion and Malletech.