David Tolen lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is principal percussionist of The Santa Fe Symphony. He performs regularly at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, where he was a featured soloist in 2015, as well as performing as a timpanist with the Santa Fe Pro Musica chamber orchestra. Rounding out his work with local organizations, Tolen has collaborated with the Santa Fe New Music Ensemble for events including a presentation of Kaija Saariaho’s Six Japanese Gardens in conjunction with The Santa Fe Opera’s American premiere of Adriana Mater.
A percussionist with The Santa Fe Opera since 2000, Tolen’s passion for opera has taken him to Florida, where he was principal percussionist with Sarasota Opera. South Carolina’s Spoleto Festival USA featured Tolen as a soloist; he has also toured throughout Japan, performing in percussion ensemble concerts and a series of youth concerts with marimbist Mayumi Hama. His contemporary music concerts include a performance and recording of Marc Neikrug’s Through Roses with violinist Pinchas Zukerman.
A full time elementary school teacher, Tolen received the “Teacher Who Inspires” award from Santa Fe Partners in Education in 2015. He has earned degrees from Texas Tech University and the University of Michigan under the direction of Alan Shinn and Michael Udow, respectively, and Tolen’s work can be heard on Equilibrium and Koch International recording labels.