Profiles in Percussion:
A Conversation with Rusty Burge

Mark Wessels sat down with Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music faculty member and Vic Firth artist Rusty Burge to talk about the evolution of his career and early path into learning the language of jazz  on the vibraphone as a percussionist without improvizational and harmonic training. In addition to talking about his signature vibe mallets, Rusty performs excerpts from his latest book, “New Adventures, Ten Pieces for Vibraphone” and discusses the techniques and musical thoughts behind a few of the compositions.

New Adventures – Ten Pieces for Vibraphone

by Rusty Burge
Published by Media Press

Available at
(hard copy or digital download)

Watch more performances


Rusty Burge joined the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music faculty in 1992 as a member of Percussion Group Cincinnati, with whom he has performed extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Recent performances include the Japan World Drum Festival, Chinese International Music Festival, Taipei International Percussion Convention, the Ravinia Festival, Merkin Hall in New York City and the International Percussion Convention. He has recorded with the Group for the Mode, Centaur, Einstein and Ars Moderno labels. The Group has also made concerto appearances with more than twenty different symphony orchestras. He was formerly principal percussionist with the West Virginia Symphony and plays extra with the Cincinnati Symphony. He received his undergraduate degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Master’s degree from CCM.

Professor Burge teaches percussion, jazz vibraphone and directs the CCM Steel band. He is an active jazz vibraphonist who has recorded for Summit, J Curve Records, Human Records and Telarc. Rusty has recently performed with Ted Nash, Rich Perry, Peter Erskine, Dave Liebman, Rufus Reid, Steve Allee, Steve Houghton, Roland Vazquez, Michael Spiro and Jim Rupp. Other appearances include performances at the 2016 PASIC Convention, the 2016 Midwest Clinic and the 2017 JEN Convention with the BAHA Quartet (Burge, Allee, Houghton and Allen). His latest recordings are Faraway (with Steve Allee) and Driftin’ with Steve Houghton, Steve Allee and Jeremy Allen. In 2017, Burge (as a member of PGC) was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.


Generates a full sound that maintains its characteristics across all registers and at all dynamic levels. Durable synthetic cord over a rubber core produces a nice jump off the bar. With rattan handles.

Rusty Burge performs his piece ‘Leaf’ with his daughter Emma Burge on violin, and Doug Perkins on percussion



For nearly 60 years, we at the Vic Firth Company have focused on developing and manufacturing what has become the world’s most popular drumsticks, mallets, alternative implements, and accessories… with the best durability, feel, and sound options, across the widest variety of genres and styles.

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