Greg Cohen

MM, New England Conservatory, Boston, MA
BM, Boston University, Boston, MA


Greg Cohen joined the San Diego Symphony as Principal Percussionist in October, 2008, after serving as acting principal for the previous season. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he received his Bachelor of Music in percussion performance from Boston University and his Master of Music from the New England Conservatory, also in percussion performance. Greg has performed with such notable orchestras as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the LA Philharmonic, the St. Louis Symphony, the Pacific Symphony, and the Kansas City Symphony.  Prior to joining the San Diego Symphony, he was privileged to work and train at several music festivals, including the Tanglewood Music Center, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, and the National Orchestral Institute. During this time, he had the privilege of playing in renowned concert halls such as the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and Carnegie Hall. Greg has recorded on Naxos, Telarc, Reference Recordings, Albany Records and Mode Records labels. Most recently, he played on the Grammy award winning recording Britten’s Orchestra with the Kansas City Symphony. Greg is a Zildjian orchestral artist. 

In addition to his work at the San Diego Symphony, Greg became a studio faculty member at San Diego State University in the fall of 2009. He also maintains an active private percussion studio in San Diego. His students have won numerous competitions and have achieved many accolades.





Ryan DiLisi

Praised by the San Diego Union-Tribune for showing “a remarkable degree of both subtlety and insistence. He has an uncanny sense of when to power forward...and when to hold back,” Ryan J. DiLisi was appointed Principal Timpanist of the San Diego Symphony in October 2010. Prior to joining the San Diego Symphony, Mr. DiLisi held the positions of Principal Timpanist of Symphony in C and Assistant Timpanist of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Additional highlights include appearing as a timpanist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and a percussionist with the New World Symphony.


Mr. DiLisi’s musicality and dramatic style have shaped him into an exciting soloist. At the age of 17, Mr. DiLisi won the Albert M. Greenfield Competition, soloing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Additionally, he has performed as a timpani soloist with the New England Conservatory Percussion and Wind Ensembles and the San Diego State University Wind Ensemble.  A Native of Southern New Jersey, Mr. DiLisi began his formal studies with Don Liuzzi, Principal Timpanist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. DiLisi earned his Bachelor of Music degree, studying under Will Hudgins of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, from the New England Conservatory of Music. Following his roots, Mr. DiLisi returned to the Philadelphia area to earn his Masters of Music degree from the Boyer College of Music at Temple University, under the mentorship of Alan Abel and Angela Nelson, both Philadelphia Orchestra percussionists.




Andrew Watkins

A native of Champaign, IL, San Diego Symphony Orchestra percussionist Andrew Watkins began his studies at the age of 12. He completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with William Moersch and Ricardo Flores, and he went on to receive his Master of Music degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts under the tutelage of Ed Harrison and Vadim Karpinos. He furthered his post-graduate education at the New England Conservatory with Will Hudgins and later at Lynn University with Ted Atkatz.

During his studies, Mr. Watkins was a participant at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2007 and the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in 2009. Previous to San Diego, his professional appearances include the Chicago Symphony, Chicago Lyric Opera, Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra and New World Symphony. Mr. Watkins joined the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in February of 2010 and has since performed with the orchestra and other local ensembles such as Art of Élan and Luscious Noise. 



James Beauton

Based in Southern California, James Beauton is a percussionist who specializes in experimental music from the last century. Beauton performs regularly as a soloist in Los Angeles for the Music@MiMoDa and Brilliant Strings concerts series, performing works of composers Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, Philippe Manoury, Franco Donatoni and Brian Ferneyhough. He has also performed in Monday Evening Concerts and the unSung Music Festival.


Beauton is a member of the ensemble Tala Rasa, a percussion trio dedicated to the commissioning and performance of new music. Tala Rasa has premiered works by composers G.N. Gianopoulos, Andrea Mazzariello, Wally Gunn, Michael Laurello and Thomas Childs. He has also performed with ensembles such as red fish blue fish, the Santa Monica Symphony, the Nova Ensemble and has been featured as a soloist with the ensembles Renga, the Contemporary Chamber Players and the Michigan State University Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras.

Pursuing his passion for percussion pedagogy and music education, Beauton joined the teaching artist roster at the innovative Music Vault Academy in 2014. This dynamic and multifaceted music school, recording studio and concert venue also hosts and produces the music series Concerts@theVault. As Artistic Director of this series, Beauton manages these events that provide live music to the community of South Orange County, often featuring artists from Los Angeles and San Diego.

Beauton holds a faculty position at San Diego State University as a dance accompanist and works toward his Doctorate of Musical Arts at UC San Diego. He has earned degrees from SUNY Stony Brook (Master of Music) and Michigan State University (Bachelor of Music). Beauton is a Vic Firth and Yamaha Performing Artist.

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