East Coast musician, Chris Colaneri, is a multi-faceted percussionist who is as comfortable playing classical music as he is playing island steelpan. As a classical percussionist, Chris played timpani with Josh Groban for his 2020 residency at Radio City Music Hall. He has performed with Symphonic Jerry Garcia featuring Warren Haynes and 90’s boy band, Hansen. Chris has shared the stage with drummer/producer Steve Jordan (Stevie Wonder/Alicia Keys), bassist Pino Paladino (The Who), guitarist Isaiah Sharkey (John Mayer), guitarist Tariq Akoni (Whitney Houston/ Backstreet Boys) and Bridget Everett (comedian).
Other orchestral endeavors have taken him to Spain, France, Israel, and Jordan where he performed for many radio and television shows as well as gave a command performance for the Queen of Jordan. Chris has also performed with the Plainfield Symphony, South Orange Symphony, and the Haddonfield Symphony.
As a steelpan, vibist, marimbist, and Latin percussion performer, Chris has led his own jazz quartet, CCQ, since 1997. This ensemble has given featured performances at the New Jersey Performing Art Center, various jazz clubs, private corporate and political functions, and jazz festivals throughout New York and New Jersey. Chris also works several times a week as a steelpan artist for Bahama Breeze.
Chris Colaneri has been directing percussion ensembles, steelpan ensembles, drum circles, and giving group percussion lessons in the New York and New Jersey public schools systems for over 25 years. He is currently percussion director for the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey and the president of the New Jersey Percussion Educators Association. Chris is also the cofounder the Central Jersey Region II Percussion Ensemble.
Chris’s recordings span the genres of jazz, classical, meditation, hip-hop, and rock. In an endeavor to promote total percussion in public school systems, Chris has written articles for the New Jersey music educators’ magazine, Tempo, and his recent book, Incorporating Total Percussion into the Middle School Band Program, has been published through VDM Publishing House. His recent book, Modern Etudes and Studies for the Total Percussionist! is published through Oxford University Press.
Chris has given percussion clinics at many public schools and Days of Percussion throughout New Jersey, and he has presented at the New Jersey Music Educators’ state convention and for several Leigh Stevens summer camps (improvisation lectures). He has also given workshops at Rowan University, University of the Arts and Mason Gross School of the Arts on aspects of developing a total percussion philosophy.
Chris also arranges and composes for percussion ensembles and steel pan ensembles. His solo marimba arrangement of “Take 5” has been published through MalletWorks. With all his experience as a music educator and performer, it was a natural progression for Chris to develop PanTropic!, This is a student-based intergenerational steel pan and marimba ensemble that gives public performances at local minor league ballparks, country fairs, and malls. During the holidays, Chris runs a percussion group made up of more than 50 percussionists from all over New Jersey, called Holiday Percussion. This all falls under the umbrella of Event Percussion LLC, of which Chris is the founder and CEO.