Gunnar Folsom is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most in-demand percussionists. His expertise includes a wide range of styles including symphonic music, ‘Broadway’, chamber music, R&B, and jazz. Over his many years as a freelance percussionist, Gunnar has performed with such musical luminaries as Patti Austin, David Benoit, Sheena Easton, Marvin Hamlisch, James Ingrahm, Al Jarreau, Melissa Manchester, Doc Severinsen, the Smothers Brothers, the Three Irish Tenors, and Allen Toussaint.
Gunnar has been a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) orchestra since 1999, and is a frequent guest with the Seattle Symphony, the Vancouver (B.C.) Symphony, and the Bellingham Festival of Music. He has also performed with the New World Symphony, the New Haven Symphony, and the Oregon Symphony.
Gunnar has been prominently featured on drum set in many works at PNB, including in two world premieres created specifically for the company. In 2008, Gunnar was featured in Susan Stroman’s “Take 5…More or Less”, and in 2013, Gunnar played alongside legendary New Orleans R & B musician Allen Toussaint in Twyla Tharp’s “Waiting At The Station”.
As a chamber musician, Gunnar has performed with The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble, The Tallis Scholars, Ensemble Sospeso, Seattle Chamber Players, Seattle Modern Orchestra, Standing Wave, and the Festival Chamber Music Society at Merkin Hall in New York. He is a founding member of Pacific Rims, a percussion quartet based in Seattle.
Gunnar has recorded countless movie and video game soundtracks, and has performed under the direction of Hollywood film composers Michael Kamen, Elmer Bernstein, Christopher Young, Gordon Goodwin, and Leonard Rosenman, He can be heard on The Legend Of Zelda 25th Anniversary Special Orchestra CD, which was recorded and produced by Nintendo in 2011.
Gunnar has performed in two of Seattle’s finest Broadway musical venues: the Paramount Theater and 5th Avenue Theater. He played the percussion books for Oliver (2013), Light In The Piazza (2007) and Wicked (2012).
Gunnar devotes much of his career to teaching and mentoring young musicians. His private students have won top honors at the WMEA State Solo Contest, and many have gone on to study at conservatories throughout the country. Gunnar is a percussion coach for the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras: the largest youth symphony organization in the country. He previously taught percussion at the University of Puget Sound, and the New England Music Camp in Sidney, Maine.
Gunnar received a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Christopher Lamb, Duncan Patton, and Don Liuzzi.