Mark Gonder: Percussion 

Faculty, University of Akron, Percussion

In addition to teaching private lessons, Mark Gonder is instructor of drumset and combo coach in the Jazz studies program at the University of Akron. He is also a member of the Faculty Jazz Group.

A native of Akron, Mark graduated from Ellet High School and attended the University of Akron. Under Roland Paolucci’s leadership, he played in the Akron Jazz Workshop from 1973-1976 and the University of Akron Jazz Ensemble from 1976-1979, culminating in a performance at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and a tour of Italy, France, Germany, and Switzerland.

In 1979, he joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra, touring the U.S., South America, and Japan. Following his road experience, Mark spent seven years in New York City as a freelance musician, working with Doc Cheatham, Stan Rubin, and many others. While in New York City, he studied with Billy Hart, Horacee Arnold, and Kenwood Denard.

After moving back to Northeast Ohio, he served as principal drummer for the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra from 1990-2013. He also performed with the Jack Schantz Jazz Unit, as well as working countless clubs, recording sessions, and radio and television jingles.

In 2005, as a member of the UA Faculty Jazz Group, Mark served as musical ambassador to Akron’s sister city, Chemnitz, Germany - performing concerts in the region. In 2009, the Group was invited by the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil to perform a number of concerts and master classes. In 2015, at the request of the U.S. State Department, Mark and the UA Jazz Group performed for the ceremonies commemorating the opening of a new embassy in Rabat, Morocco. They also performed in Casablanca, Fez, and Khouribga during this trip.

Mark has performed with Michael Spiro, Christian McBride, Alex Acuna, Arturo Sandoval, Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Holman, Billy Byers, Frank Foster, Sammy Nestico, Slide Hampton and Maria Schneider during his career. With the Jack Schantz Jazz Unit, he has performed tributes to Jimi Hendrix (with Veron Reid), Frank Zappa (with Ernie Watts), and Buddy Rich (with the Dave Banks Big Band). He has recorded with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, The Jazz Unit, the Jack Schantz Quarter, and solo works.