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Colleen Bernstein

Artists/Composers - Master Educators & Endorsers
Bernstein Headshot 2-sm

Colleen Bernstein

Colleen Bernstein is an award-winning percussionist, arts educator, and creative collaborator
recognized for her uniquely passionate performances, adventurous musical spirit, and
impactful community engagement initiatives. She has performed contemporary solo, chamber,
and orchestral music across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Additionally, she enjoys a
diverse career as a concert presenter, producer, pianist, conductor, and teacher. Colleen strives
to embody boldness and empathy through her work, and is dedicated to unifying and effecting
positive change in communities of all ages and backgrounds.

Colleen has been featured in performances with GRAMMY-winning artists including Béla Fleck
and members of the Silkroad Ensemble, and was the recipient of the Ludwig Albert Talent
Award at the 2015 Universal Marimba Competition. She recently performed on the New York
Philharmonic’s Off the Grid chamber music concert series, and tours actively as Percussionist,
Conductor, and Leader of Educational Programming with the ground-breaking American Wild
Ensemble, a new music septet. Colleen’s most recent solo concert program, EXTEND, featured
a kaleidoscopic array of multicultural music, and generated over $3200 in one week as a
benefit for organizations supporting immigrant families detained and separated at the USMexico
border. Colleen is a performer and teaching artist with Creative Leaps International, an
interdisciplinary arts collective working with corporations, government agencies, and
educational institutions to inspire creativity and leadership development. She has appeared as
a guest artist at the Leigh Howard Stevens Summer Marimba Seminar, and twice at the
Percussive Arts Society International Convention: as a member of the inaugural All-Star
International Percussion Ensemble, and with the Eastman Percussion Ensemble.

Colleen is the Founder, Artistic Director, and Producer of Strength & Sensitivity, a mobile
concert series promoting gender equality through immersive multi-media events celebrating
passion, emotion, and understanding. The first Strength & Sensitivity performance featured
seven world premieres, and was part of the United Nations HeForShe Arts Week, a weeklong,
global festival honoring the UN Women’s solidarity movement for gender equality. In the
2018-2019 season, Strength & Sensitivity is slated to debut in New York, Boston, and Austin,

As a recording artist, Colleen’s work can be heard on the debut American Wild Ensemble video
album (ArtistShare label), as well as on multiple albums with the Eastman Wind Ensemble
(Summit Records), on which she performs both percussion and piano. Colleen has worked as a
session and post-production producer for Third Coast Percussion and the Eastman Percussion

Colleen is a champion of equitable education, and she has extensive experience teaching in
traditional classroom and private studio environments, as well as designing culturally
responsive educational programs for learners of all ages and backgrounds. She is currently the
Director of Outreach for the Silkroad Global Musician Workshop, as well as the Lead Teacher in
the El Sistema-inspired Michigan Artist Citizen Program and the Site Coordinator for the
Crescendo Detroit Pathways Program. From 2014-2016, she curated a series of interactive
concerts for multigenerational audiences celebrating local artists and contemporary music at
the Strong National Museum of Play. Among these programs was Toy Suite, a project that
generated ten solo and chamber works dedicated to toys in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Over the past five years, Colleen has premiered nearly fifty solo, chamber, and orchestral
pieces. She has personally commissioned over twenty works, varying from an electroacoustic
solo to a trio for violin, marimba, and narrator, and a theatrical quartet for speaking
percussionists, performed on “kitchen instruments.” Colleen is also leading the Richard Albagli
Legacy Initiative in efforts to publish the comprehensive works of the nationally-renowned
educator and celebrate his myriad accomplishments in the percussion field.

Colleen graduated with Highest Distinction from the Eastman School of Music in 2016 with
Bachelor’s degrees in Applied Music and Music Education, a Certificate in Arts Leadership, and
the prestigious Performer’s Certificate. She will receive Master’s degrees in Percussion and
Chamber Music from the University of Michigan in 2019. Her primary teachers include Michael
Burritt, Joseph Gramley, Jonathan Ovalle, Richard Albagli, and Mark Foster. Colleen is a
Presser Undergraduate Scholar and a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honor
Society), the National Association for Music Education, and the Percussive Arts Society.