Percussionist Vern Griffiths is one of the prominent players in Vancouver’s musical community. He joined the Vancouver Symphony as Principal Percussionist in 1997, and is also a member of the CBC Radio Orchestra, and the new music groups Standing Wave and Turning Point Ensemble. He can be heard on recordings with all of these groups, as well as soundtracks to movies by Disney, Imax, ABC, PBS, EA Sports, Lion’s Gate, and Dreamworks. Griffiths was born and raised in North Vancouver, and has degrees from UBC in both music and commerce. His percussion teacher at UBC was the then-VSO Principal John Rudolph. He then earned his Master of Music degree in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, as a scholarship student of Chris Lamb of the New York Philharmonic and Duncan Patton of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Other studies include the Aspen Music Festival, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the National Orchestral Institute (Maryland), the Altenberg Music Festival (Germany), and the Leigh Stevens Marimba Seminar.
Griffiths has appeared as soloist with the Vancouver Symphony, CBC Radio Orchestra, and Victoria Symphony. This season he will perform his Wall-to-Wall Percussion kid’s concert with the Vancouver Symphony (third time) and the Toronto Symphony (debut). Other recent highlights include a Music on Main recital at the Jazz Cellar plus performances with the Music on Main All-Star Band, Victoria Symphony, Music in the Morning series, MusicFest Vancouver, UBC’s Wednesday Noon Hour and Pacific Spirit series, the Canadian premiere of Nebojsa Zivkovic’s Sex in the Kitchen, and the CBC Radio2 broadcast of one of his own recent compositions.
A committed educator, he has taught at UBC since 1997, and has directed the Percussion Ensemble since 2005. Students of his have gone on to study with Alan Abel, Russell Hartenberger, John Rudolph, Don Liuzzi, Jack Van Geem,and Nancy Zeltsman; have participated in the Aspen Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, and National Youth Orchestra of Canada; have performed as soloists with both the UBC Orchestra and Wind Ensemble; and a former student is now the Principal Percussionist of the Chicago Symphony.