For percussionist Theresa Dimond, finding her instrument was an adventure in musical exploration.
“Percussion was not my first instrument,” she says. “And it is interesting how it became my ‘chosen’ instrument. I started on accordion at age 5 — which is obligatory if you come from a big Italian family like I do. I then went to piano lessons a year or so later. Then, in fourth grade, I took up oboe, English horn and percussion.”
When deciding on a music school for college, USC — her first-choice school — offered her a percussion scholarship, and so launched her career in the percussive arts.
As a freelance musician in Los Angeles, Theresa has worked with practically every major ensemble in the city. In addition to serving as Principal Percussion of the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, she has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pacific Symphony and Long Beach Symphony. She is also currently Principal Percussion of the Los Angeles Opera and Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Principal Timpanist of the California Philharmonic and Muse/ique.
She can also be heard on major motion pictures including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Far From Heaven, Rush Hour 3, Rocky 5, and Edward Scissorhands, to name but a few.
“Percussionists are collectors of ‘sounds’ and ‘color,’ and as such, collect hundreds and hundreds of instruments,” she says.
One such interesting instrument, on which she is an expert, is the cimbalom, a Hungarian hammered dulcimer. She has performed cimbalom for Pierre Boulez, Lalo Schifrin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kurt Masur, Dawn Upshaw, and Grant Gershon.
Dr. Dimond also serves on the faculties of UCLA, UC Irvine, Pomona College and Cerritos College. In 1998, she founded TouchDown Publications, a music publishing company which edits and publishes opera percussion parts.