Instructor of Percussion
M.M., Indiana University
Michael Mixtacki is instructor of percussion at Northern Illinois University, teaching percussion, co-directing the percussion ensemble, and directing the Latin Jazz and Afro-Cuban Folkloric Ensembles.
Michael holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studied with Professor Anthony DiSanza. Among many performance opportunities in Madison, Michael performed on timpani with the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Developing a keen interest in African Diasporic music, Michael began several independent studies with Brazilian percussionists Scott Kettner and Jorge Alabê, and Afro-Cuban percussionist Michael Spiro.
Mixtacki continued his studies with Michael Spiro at Indiana University, where he earned a Master’s degree in percussion performance. He received funding from Indiana University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies to study Arará drumming and song (a dying musical tradition) in Matanzas, Cuba. He studied with master percussionist Daniel Alfonso, and renowned vocalist and dancer Dolores Perez Herrera. His studies in Matanzas led to the formation of The Yonofo Project, a consortium of Midwest percussion instructors dedicated to the study and preservation of Arará music.
Mixtacki performs regularly on drum set, lead vocals and percussion with the Caribbean Jazz fusion group, Ritmos Unidos, led by percussionist Michael Spiro. The band's CD, ¡Funklorico! has been featured at several festivals and conferences around the country, includng the Jazz Education Network Conference. Michael has also recorded with Grammy nominated artist, Wayne Wallace.
Michael has been featured at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, most notably with the Indiana University Afro-Cuban Folkloric Ensemble as co-director, arranger, composer, percussionist and lead vocalist. The ensemble won the Percussive Arts Society’s World Percussion Ensemble competition in 2011. Mixtacki has shared the stage with many internationally renowned performers and educators, and has been featured as a guest artist at numerous high schools and colleges throughout the Midwest.
Michael is an artist/endorser of Latin Percussion (LP) instruments, Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, and Sabian Cymbals.