Department of Music and Theatre

Brian Simpson

Studio- Percussion

Brian Simpson, Drums and Percussion

Brian Simpson is a triple-threat in the Northern California music scene. On drums, he was a regular member of Dan Hicks’ various groups (Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks, Bayside Jazz, 2005-2016) having performed on 2 of Dan’s CD’s, one of which was Grammy Award nominated. Brian is principal timpanist for The North State Symphony (since 2004) and is also a highly respected music educator. Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, Mr. Simpson began playing the drums at a young age (6) and was later introduced to the musical possibilities of many percussion instruments. Upon completion of his Bachelor of Music Degree in Percussion Performance (1986), he moved to England where he played in numerous groups and orchestras in the London area. Before returning to California in late 1989, Brian completed a Master of Arts Degree in Music Performance Studies at The City University, London, during which he attended the prestigious Guildhall School of Music. He continues his ties to the U.K. performing with various orchestras and jazz groups when time allows. Although despising the phrase ‘life-long learner’, his thirst in further music and percussion knowledge is unquenchable. This has led to him being listed as a Visiting Research Academic at The Bate Collection of Instruments at Oxford University. The first few years of the 1990’s were spent earning 3 different teaching credentials. In late 1992 he co-founded and played drums in the moderately internationally famous Wooden Nickel Jass Band, started freelancing in orchestras and began a very successful teaching career that currently involves both Vacaville public schools, Napa Valley College, and Pacific Union College. Mr. Simpson has experience playing in pit orchestras for musicals, opera and the ballet, he has also played for name acts from comedy to famous singers. Although Brian loves playing music, he is also quite contented just hanging with his wife, Evie, and cat Dexter.

Portrait of Brian Simpson
Office Hours
Course Instruction
  • MUSC 110G Studio Instruction - Percussion
  • MUSC 310G Studio Instruction - Percussion