Tim White OAM was born in Canberra and grew up on Christmas Island. As a teenager he fell in love with The Beatles, got hooked on classical music and took up percussion, studying in Sydney, Denmark, Germany and the USA.

Tim is the Co-ordinator of Classical Music and Senior Lecturer in Music at the WA Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University. He has led the percussion teaching programme at WAAPA since 1994, directs the award-winning ‘Defying Gravity’ percussion ensemble, lectures in the Art of Performance, co-ordinates all of WAAPA’s classical ensembles, and supervises postgraduate research students. In 2014 Tim won ECU’s 'Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching', and in 2015 he won the Australian Awards for University Teaching’s 'Award for Teaching Excellence'. Sixty-five of his percussion graduates are now enjoying full-time careers as professional musicians.

Tim was Principal Percussionist of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra for 28 years, before moving fulltime to WAAPA in 2013. He was also Principal Percussionist of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in 1984/85, and has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and Australian Chamber Orchestra. Tim has toured Europe with the Australian Youth Orchestra, toured Germany as a soloist with the Hofer Symphoniker, performed solo for the Festival of Perth, and presented numerous percussion concerti as a soloist with the WASO and TSO. He presented the German and Australian premieres of Per Norgard’s ‘Percussion Concerto’ as well as the WA premieres of concertos by Richard Mills, Paul Creston and Darius Milhaud.

Tim was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2021 for his services to music. He holds two Masters degrees in music performance, is a 2022 Fulbright Scholar and a Churchill Fellow, and held a German Government DAAD Scholarship from 1991-93. He works regularly as a guest tutor for the Australian Youth Orchestra, and was Musical Director of the AYO’s 2010 National Music Camp. Tim is a guest lecturer at the Australian National Academy of Music, and directed ANAM’s ‘Rhythms of Life’ percussion festival in 2003.

Tim has performed with many of the world’s leading artists, including Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Ray Charles, Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Charles Dutoit, James Galway, Sumi Jo, Midori, Bryn Terfel, Joshua Bell, Nigel Kennedy, John Williams, Ben Folds, Chick Corea, Tim Minchin, Jon Lord, Glen Campbell, Dionne Warwick and John Farnham.

Tim’s passion is the transformative power of music: exploring how its beauty and joy can reach out to touch souls, nurture imaginations, enrich lives and transform communities.

Educational Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Music (Sydney Conservatorium of Music at The University of Sydney, 1987)
  • Master of Music (The University of Western Australia, 1992)
  • Meister-Diplom (Hochschule fuer Musik Wuerzburg, Germany, 1994)

Professional Appointments

  • Co-ordinator of Classical Music at WA Academy of Performing Arts at ECU (2016 – present)
  • Guest faculty member of the Australian National Academy of Music (2014 - present)
  • Senior Lecturer in Music at WA Academy of Performing Arts at ECU (2014 – present)
  • Head of Percussion and Lecturer in Music at WAAPA at ECU (1994 – present)
  • Section Leader Percussion with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (1985 – 2013)
  • Principal Percussionist of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (1984 – 1985)
  • Head of Percussion at The University of Western Australia (1987 – 2014)
  • Guest musical director and percussion tutor for Australian Youth Orchestra (2003 - present)
  • Guest percussion tutor for the Australian National Academy of Music (2003 - present)
  • Guest percussion tutor for the West Australian Youth Orchestra (1985 – present)
  • Section percussionist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (1988)
  • Guest percussionist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and Australian Chamber Orchestra
  • Percussion soloist with the Tasmanian and WA Symphony Orchestras (1985 – 2000)
  • Percussion Soloist with the Hofer Symphoniker in Wuerzburg and Hof, Germany (1993)


  • Musical Director of 'Celebrate!' - Edith Cowan University's 25th Anniversary Gala Concert (2016)
  • Musical Director of the Australian Youth Orchestra’s ‘National Music Camp’ (2010)
  • Member of the WA Symphony Orchestra’s inaugural Board of Directors (1998 – 2002)
  • Section Leader Percussion with the WA Symphony Orchestra (1985 – 2013)
  • Percussion ensemble director for the opening ceremony of 2011 CHOGM Meeting in Perth
  • Assistant director of the ‘Australian Percussion Gathering’ in Brisbane (2010)
  • Assistant director of the Commonwealth Games Percussion Mastercourse (2006)
  • Assistant director of the Australian Percussion Symposium in Canberra (2003)
  • Director of the Australian National Academy of Music’s Rhythms of Life festival (2002)
  • President of WA Symphony Orchestra’s Players’ Association (1997-98)
  • Director of ECU’s ‘Defying Gravity' percussion ensemble (1994 – present)

Awards and Recognition

  • Medal of the Order of Australia (2021)
  • Australian Awards for University Teaching: '2015 Award for Teaching Excellence' (2015)
  • Edith Cowan University Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2015)
  • Music Director of AYO’s National Music Camp (2010)
  • Churchill Fellowship (1999)
  • German Government DAAD Scholarship (1991 – 93)
  • Winner of the 'Hochshule fur Musik Wuerzburg Concerto Competition' (1991)
  • Instrumental Finalist in the ABC's 'Australian Young Performer of the Year Award' (1989)
  • Australia Council international study scholarships (1985 – present)
  • WA Department for Culture and the Arts: Arts Development grants (1987 – present)
  • Dux of Canberra High School (1979)


"Dramatic, uncompromising and brutal... quite riveting... White's performance was a tour de force. His ovation was thoroughly deserved." - Neville Cohn, The Australian

"A percussion solo by Tim White erupted into an avalanching flow of thundering power. Absolutely breathtaking stuff." Lynn Fisher, The West Australian

"Tim White, the WASO's percussionist, played concertos on marimba and xylophone with a fire and confidence that proved him a fine soloist." - Barbara Yates Rothwell, The West Australian

"Tim White, whose skill with the mallets is exemplary, gave a performance which could hardly have been bettered." - Neville Cohn, The West Australian

"The wild and emotive percussion solo Psappha was again dynamically hammered in a brilliant performance by Tim White." - Lindsay Vickery, The West Australian

"It was difficult not to be distracted by the brilliant drumming of Tim White, as he built from almost inaudibility to a blazing finale." - Peter Wombwell, The West Australian

"With a flourish of mallets, two of the most supple and educated wrists in the business and a feat of memory that would awe an elephant, Tim White was star of the evening at the WA Symphony Orchestra's Encounter concert. White was in frankly stunning form in an all-too-rare appearance as soloist with the orchestra. By even the most rigorous critical standards, White's account of Richard Mills' Soundscapes must be considered a tour de force, a performance as fascinating to watch as to hear... For those whose notion of percussion is beating the hell out of an assortment of drums, White's performance was revelatory. While he can build up thunderous climaxes on bongos, tomtoms, side drums and congas, he is also capable of the most subtle, ear-caressing effects. The fragile, tinsel-delicate sound which White stroked from the triangle to bring the first movement to a gentle end was a delight, as if blown away by a puff of wind. There were, too, shimmering webs of sound coaxed from the vibraphone; this was artistry of the highest order, and all the more effective for being set off by thunderous forays into very much more aggressive sound territory, pages at which White charged with the abandon of a buccaneer." - Neville Cohn, The West Australian

"Superbly fashioned, bright-toned arabesques and sweeping glissandi on the xylophone - of which White is unquestionably a master - made for bracing listening." - Neville Cohn, The West Australian

"An essay in raw power, Tim White's performance was rhythmically a technical tour de force… an almost overwhelming avalanche of sound." - Neville Cohn, The West Australian

"With 18 mighty crashes of the cymbals during the symphony, White stepped down as, in his own words, the WASO’s chief Banger-and-Crasher. His contribution to WASO’s programs over the years has been immense and deservedly made him one of the orchestra’s star performers." - Neville Cohn, The West Australian

"Known as the father of the local percussion scene, Tim White has nurtured many of Perth’s percussionists through his inspirational teaching and performing. The Defying Gravity ensemble he directs has been the launching pad for many of Perth’s percussion ensembles." - Rosalind Appleby, The West Australian



  • Paul Creston: Concertino for Marimba
  • William Kraft: Timpani Concerto
  • Askell Masson: Konzertstuck for Snare Dum and Orchestra
  • Darius Milhaud: Concerto for Percussion
  • Richard Mills: Soundscapes for Percussion and Orchestra
  • Per Norgard: For A Change: Percussion Concerto
  • Robert Parris: Concerto for Timpani
  • Carl Vine: Percussion Concerto


  • Charles Boone: The Watts Towers
  • Sylvano Bussotti: Coeur
  • John Cage: Child of Tree
  • Morton Feldman: The King of Denmark
  • Andrew Ford: Composition in Blue, Grey and Pink
  • Berthold Hummel: Quattro Pezzi
  • Graeme Leak: And Now For The News
  • Alvin Lucier: Silver Streetcar for the Orchestra
  • Askell Masson: Frum
  • Per Norgard: I Ching
  • Frederic Rzewski: To The Earth
  • Iannis Xenakis: Psappha and Rebonds


  • Elliott Carter: Saeta, Moto Perpetuo, Adagio, Recitative, Improvisation, Canto, Canaries and March
  • Carlos Chavez: Partita for Solo Timpani
  • Peter Sadlo: Cadenza for Timpani

Snare drum

  • John Cage: Composed Improvisation for Snare Drum
  • Robert Clarke: War Games
  • Siegfried Fink: Jongo and Sonata
  • Askell Masson: Prime
  • Barry Quinn: Concert Piece
  • Eric White: False Images
  • Nebojsa Zivkovic: Pezzo da Concerto


  • Jeff Beal: The Red Shoes
  • Ross Edwards: Marimba Dances
  • Siegfried Fink: Batu Ferringhi, Improvisation und Umkehrung and Papillon
  • Mark Glentworth: Blues for Gilbert
  • George Hamilton Green: Ragtime Robin, Log Cabin Blues, Cross Corners and Xylophonia
  • Roman Haubenstock-Ramati: Liaisons
  • Gordon Stout: Mexican Dance
  • Toshimitsu Tanaka: Two Movements for Marimba
  • Martin Wesley-Smith: For Marimba and Tape and White Knight and Beaver


Tim is a Senior Lecturer in Music at the WA Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University, where he leads the percussion department and directs WAAPA’s award-winning ‘Defying Gravity’ percussion ensemble.

Percussion students come to WAAPA with dreams of making music their professional career – and Tim and WAAPA assist them to make their dreams come true. Percussionists studying with Tim receive individual lessons, participate in weekly percussion workshops and masterclasses, perform in ‘Defying Gravity’, and enjoy full access to WAAPA’s fabulous percussion facilities based around the Handa Percussion Studio and the Music Auditorium.

WAAPA offers percussion students an extraordinary range of performance opportunities ranging from the Faith Court Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Brass Ensemble through to solo recitals, chamber music, new music groups, music theatre shows and the Indian Ocean Ensemble.

Percussionists can enrol in a variety of music courses: a 1-year Diploma of Music, a 4-year Bachelor of Music degree, a 2-year Master of Music degree and a 4-year PhD. If you are interested in studying percussion at WAAPA, please contact Tim through the contact page.


“I can’t think of a more wonderful person to share my percussion experience with. Your constant enthusiasm, support and unwavering faith have allowed me to achieve things beyond my imagination.” - Elizabeth

"I've never known anyone else who puts so much commitment into teaching like you have. You're the best!" - Robyn

"You have been an amazing teacher. Your belief and passion in your work is inspiring." - Stacey

"Thanks for all the support and guidance. You have taught me so much, I really feel equipped to take on any challenge." - Jenny

"I can only begin to tell you how much I've developed not only as a musician, but also personally. I feel blessed with the opportunity to have chosen this path." - Tamara

"I could not have had more fun or learnt more, than from studying music with you." - Luigi

"I've had an absolute blast over these past three years and I can't believe it's already over!" - Marcus


Since 1990, 83 of Tim’s students have been awarded Bachelor and/or Masters degrees in music performance and education. Forty-five of these students are currently working full-time as professional musicians, with established careers in the fields of music performance, education, composition, recording, production and arts administration – a graduate employment rate of 78%. Tim’s former students are now working around the world in settings ranging from the Cirque du Soleil through to Tetrafide Percussion, Synergy Percussion, the WA Symphony Orchestra, SSO, MSO, music theatre shows and the WA School of Instrumental Music.

Students who have won places in the Australian Youth Orchestra’s ‘National Music Camp’: Paul Barnes, Joel Bass, Jordan Berini, Taryn Cacciola (nee Lush), Tamara Camilleri, James Chong, Helena Cook, Neil Craig, Louise Devenish (nee Conroy), Fiona Digney, Alison Emor-Kan, Natasha French, Robyn Gray (nee Sarti), Catherine Hall (nee Betts), Pavan Kumar Hari, Joshua Hogan, Tegan LeBrun, Elizabeth Lyon, Kaylie Melville, Colin Mills, Holly Norman, Marcus Perrozzi, Despina Prastides, Alison Pratt (nee Eddington), Ingrid Purich, Steve Richter, Iain Robbie, Thea Rossen, Stacey Smart (nee Borich), Imogen Thomson (nee Stacey), Neville Talbot, Katie Thomas, Imogen Thomson, Joshua Webster, Jennifer Winley, Euphina Yap, Jet-Kye Chong, Laura Harris and Tom Robertson, Joey Eng, Gabrielle Lee, Steven Hartley and Tayla Rattray.

Students who have won places in the Australian Youth Orchestra: Tom Robertson, Joel Bass, Taryn Cacciola (nee Lush), James Chong, Neil Craig, Louise Devenish (nee Conroy), Fiona Digney, Alison Emor-Kan, Natasha French, Catherine Hall (nee Betts), Daniel Hall, Joshua Hogan, Robyn Gray (nee Sarti), Tegan LeBrun, Kaylie Melville, Holly Norman, Marcus Perrozzi, Despina Prastides, Alison Pratt (nee Eddington), Ingrid Purich, Steve Richter, Iain Robbie, Stacey Smart (nee Borich), Neville Talbot, Katie Thomas, Imogen Thomson (nee Stacey), Lara Wilson, Jennifer Winley, Euphina Yap and Laura Harris, Joey Eng, Steven Hartley

Ten of Tim’s students are current or former members of the professional quartet ‘Tetrafide Percussion’, which has toured internationally and represented Australia at the World Expo in Japan: Neville Talbot, Louise Devenish (nee Conroy), Catherine Hall (nee Betts), Robyn Gray (nee Sarti), Marcus Perrozzi, Steven Richter, Iain Robbie, Joshua Webster, Genevieve Wilkins and Jennifer Winley

Catherine Hall (nee Betts) and Joshua Webster are the world-renowned percussion duo ‘Kaboom Percussion’. Kaboom's compositions and performances are enjoyed all around the globe, and their online music videos have been viewed over 100 million times. Visit their fabulous website at:

Euphina Yap (BMus) won the 2013 Edith Cowan University Medal, which is awarded to the top student in the entire University. In 2014, Euphina also won the inaugural Australian Marimba Competition.

Twenty-one of the 23 freelance percussionists employed by the WA Symphony Orchestra are former students of Tim.

Fiona Digney was the only student in 2013 and 2014 invited into the world’s leading PhD program for percussion – at the University of California at San Diego - having previously earned Masters degrees at the University of Alaska and the Rotterdam Conservatory.

Thea Rossen, Kaylie Melville and Lara Wilson have all won fulltime places at the prestigious Australian National Academy of Music.

Marcus Perrozzi performed Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Dralion’ show over 1,300 times in 152 cities around the world, touring to every continent on earth. He's now a lecturer at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, and teaches full-time for IMSS.

Genevieve Wilkins performed in London’s West End and for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Globe Theatre, was a member of UK’s ‘Ensemble Bash’, and lectured at the Royal College of Music. She's now a full-time lecturer at the WA Academy of Performing Arts.

24 members of Defying Gravity performed at the official Opening Ceremony of the 2011 CHOGM meeting in Perth, before Queen Elizabeth II and a number of Prime Ministers from around the Commonwealth.

Tegan LeBrun graduated from London's Royal Academy of Music in 2017 with a Masters degree in percussion performance, and won the RAM's prestigious 'James Blades Prize for Timpani'.

Tao Issaro tours Europe, Asia and America as a composer and performer for large-scale dance and theatre productions.

Performer/composer Pavan Kumar Hari won the 2020 Performing Arts WA award for ‘Best Composition or Arranging’ for his work in Black Swan Theatre’s season of ‘Fully Sikh’.

Dr Louise Devenish is a Senior Research Fellow, Honours Coordinator and Percussion Coordinator at Monash University.

Rosie Taylor and Elise Reitze tour the world as the multi-award-winning percussion/electronica duo ‘FEELS’.

Alison Pratt (nee Eddington) was a long-term member of 'Synergy Percussion’ and the ‘Match’ percussion duo.

Josh Hogan is an award-winning music producer, composer, sound designer and Ableton educator.

Adam Tan is a marimba soloist, composer and online content creator, producing the online YouTube show THE STUDIO. Adam also founded and directs the annual ‘MarimbaFest Australia’ marimba festival.

Kaylie Melville is a member of ’Speak Percussion’, Australia’s leading contemporary percussion quartet.

Callum Moncrieff and Naomi Tan are full-time members of the Royal Australian Air Force Band in Melbourne.

Louis Frere-Harvey and Shaun Pickett tour the world as the percussion/EDM duo ‘Command Q’, performing and producing dance club music.

Jen Winley is the 2022 Assistant Conductor of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

James Chong and Michael Chewter play drums and percussion in professional Music Theatre productions throughout Australia, the UK and South-East Asia.

Thea Rossen performs in music festivals around the globe, and devises and presents education programmes for the Melbourne and West Australian Symphony Orchestras.

Germaine Png (GERMY) is a percussionist, electronic musician and performance artist, currently completing a Masters degree at the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin.

Marimba soloist, competition winner, composer and online content creator Joey Eng is an endorsed ‘Marimba One’ artist.

Tim White