Marc Damoulakis Series Tambourines
Marc and I started working on these instruments in August of 2020. I contacted Marc to see if he’d be interested in checking out some of my early attempts at making tambourines. There was no intention of making a line of instruments together, but we slowly started figuring things out and learned a lot about the process along the way. In addition to Marc, John Stoessel was a huge help in helping guide me along the way to understand how the metals interact with the drum and how to treat the metals with heat and tempering and patience. We still talk regularly and he’s been a real inspiration for me in many ways. Many of his tambourines made in the 60’s and 70’s are fantastic instruments.
I probably shipped 60-70 instruments to Marc over the 7 months we were refining them and each time we learned something new or were confused by something else. How the heads, the shells, the metals, and slot sizes all interacted were quite a puzzle to try and solve. But we whittled the options down to four of Marc’s favorites. The metals are nothing new - brass, German silver, and bronze have been used on concert tambourines for decades. In fact, John Stoessel was kind enough to sell me his 20lb coil German silver he had in his shop. What’s new is the process in which each jingle is formed. They are very much handmade using forms and dies that I made myself. They are then hammered into shape. Additionally, Marc has a method for additional crimping that helps the instrument be more connected and allows the jingles to “blossom” more quickly. This is done with the brass and bronze models.
There is a break-in period with these instruments. Mainly, the head needs to be played and given time to open up. This will allow the instrument to vibrate even more once the head has been stretched out a bit. The jingles will sound great on day one.
It’s been a pleasure working with Marc on this project and I’m honored to make an instrument bearing his name. He has been a member of The Cleveland Orchestra since 2006 and principal percussionist there since 2013.
Below are the basic descriptions for each of the initial four models. All of the instruments have great response at all dynamics. There is no special “soft” model. They are all meant to used at all dynamics. The color is what changes the most from model to model.
36 jingles per instrument.
Calf heads from Stern Tanning.
Brass - shortest sustain of the line. Very quick response. Middle of the pack for color. Not super bright and not dark.
German silver - very bright and crisp.
Bronze - dark and chunky. Old school sound but with better response and clarity.
GS/Bronze mix - 18 German Silver, 18 bronze. The workhorse of the line. It can cover a lot of repertoire in many different settings.
Marc Damoulakis is the principal percussionist of the Cleveland Orchestra and holds the Margaret Allen Ireland Chair. He has been a member of The Cleveland Orchestra since August 2006. He is currently co-chair of the percussion department at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In his pursuit of developing the dynamic whole musician, he performs as a soloist, chamber musician and is a committed educator and clinician at institutions and festivals worldwide.
Throughout his career, he has performed and recorded as a guest artist with the orchestras of the New York Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He is an active chamber musician playing regularly with the Strings Music Festival, Chamberfest Cleveland, and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony “In Focus” Series, where he is also the principal percussionist. He has performed with Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Gilmore Festival, the New Music Consort and the Pulse Percussion Ensemble. In addition Mr. Damoulakis is a founding member of the Time Table Percussion Quartet. In 2015, he performed and recorded with the National Brass Ensemble at Skywalker Ranch and Orchestra Hall in Chicago.
In addition to teaching at CIM, Mr. Damoulakis was on the faculty at DePaul University for 7 years. He has led masterclasses and clinics throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He is committed to a bi-annual week long teaching residency at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is a regular clinician and teacher at the North Western Percussion Symposium, the New World Symphony, and the National Youth Orchestra. Additionally, Marc is the Director of the annual Modern Snare Drum Competition. He has students holding positions in major symphony orchestras throughout the world.
Prior to coming to Cleveland, Mr. Damoulakis resided in New York for 3 years where he performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel (2003-2006), served as principal timpanist of the Long Island Philharmonic (1998-2006) and held the position of Assistant Principal Percussionist of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra (2003-2006). He performed as an active freelancer in New York playing on Broadway in Phantom Of The Opera.
As a collaborative three year project, he developed the K symphonic line of cymbals with the Zildjian Cymbal Company, instruments that are an important part of his sound collection with The Cleveland orchestra.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Mr. Damoulakis was exposed to music at a young age by his parents who were both educators and musicians, in piano and tuba respectively. He spent four summers at Tanglewood, in addition attending the festivals of Spoleto, and the Pacific Music Festival. Marc Damoulakis holds an undergraduate BA degree in percussion performance from the Manhattan School of Music, studying under Chris Lamb (The New York Philharmonic), Duncan Patton (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and the late James Preiss (The Steve Reich ensemble.) He continued his studies in the New World Symphony, under MTT, for four years(1999-2003.) Marc and his wife Samantha currently reside in Cleveland Heights with their son, George, daughter Helen.