Meet the Orchestra

Peter Kogan


Peter Kogan began musical studies at age six on the violin, added piano at age eight and drums at age ten. A year later he began serious study with Saul Goodman, timpanist of New York Philharmonic, who would continue to mentor him through high school and undergraduate study at Juilliard. He completed studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Cloyd Duff of the Cleveland Orchestra. He joined the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell in 1969 as Section Percussion. Three years later he was appointed Principal Percussion and Associate Principal Timpani of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

In 1977 his passion for jazz blues and rock got the better of him, and he left the Pittsburgh Symphony to spend six years in New York City as a drum set player and composer. He backed up Blues legends Lightnin’ Hopkins, Honey-Boy Edwards and Jimmy Whitherspoon, groups such as the Drifters and the Crystals, and Rock and Roll legend Bo Diddley. He then joined the Honolulu Symphony as drum set player and timpanist in 1984, and joined the Minnesota Orchestra as principal timpani two years later.

Kogan is on the affiliate faculty of the University of Minnesota School of Music, is a member of the Symphonic Committee of the Percussive Arts Society, and designs and builds Klassischewienerpauken ™ (classical viennese timpani) for historically appropriate performances.

Kogan recently began performing  jazz drums and composing again, and was heard around Minnesota with the Minnesota Orchestra Jazz Quartet. He retired from the Minnesota  Orchestra in 2015, but continues as timpanist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra on a regular basis. The Peter Kogan Quartet and Septet are now performing regularly at clubs around the Twin Cities.