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Jacob Nissly

Jacob Nissly lecturing


Courses Taught

Applied Lessons

Percussion Ensemble


MM, The Juilliard School

BM, Jazz Studies, Northwestern University


San Francisco Symphony, Principal, 2013–Present

The Cleveland Orchestra, Principal, 2011–2013

Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Principal, 2010–2011

Distinguished Alumni

Sam Rich - Percussionist with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Jonathan Milke - Percussion/Timpani with Pershing's Own US Army Band

Micah Harrow - Timpanist with New World Symphony and New Mexico Symphony

Adam Cooper-Stanbury - Percussion with Australian Air Force Band

Tennison Watts - Principal Percussion with Stockton Symphony and Reno Philharmonic Orchestra


What is your hometown?

Grimes, IA

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Running and reading.

Who were your major teachers?

Michael Burritt, Greg Zuber, Michael Werner, James Ross, and Dan Druckman.

What recordings can we hear you on?

San Francisco Symphony, Mason Bates - Works for Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra, Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 - Live at St. Florian
Mason Bates, Stereo is King
St. Louis Symphony, City Noir



Jacob Nissly is the Principal Percussionist of the San Francisco Symphony.  Prior to his appointment in San Francisco, Nissly was the Principal Percussionist of the Cleveland Orchestra for two seasons and the Principal Percussionist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for one season. Previously, he was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach for two seasons. Nissly is the Co-Chair of the percussion department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Nissly is also a regular coach at the New World Symphony.  He previously taught at the Eastman School of Music and Cleveland Institute of Music.  Nissly has given classes at The Juilliard School, Univeristy of California-San Diego, University of Michigan, Indiana University, Northwestern University, Colburn School, New York University, and various PAS Days of Percussion.  He has served as a percussion coach for NYO-USA and NYO-2 during the 2017, 2018, and 2019 summers.  He will also be teaching at the Aspen Music Festival and School in 2019.  He can be heard on recordings with the San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and playing drum set on the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's Grammy award winning recording of John Adams' "City Noir.” Nissly holds a Bachelor of Music and Jazz Studies degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with Michael Burritt, James Ross, and Paul Wertico.  He received his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Greg Zuber and Dan Druckman.