by Jarrett Hoffman
It’s a familiar feeling for musicians: to have mastered a difficult piece, then discover someone a quarter their age playing it twice as well. “It’s amazing from year one to now,” Marc Damoulakis said in a recent conversation about the Modern Snare Drum Competition. “Stuff that we used to think was hard, these kids are coming in younger and younger and playing with ease. And I honestly don’t think it would’ve happened without this competition.”
Damoulakis, who joined The Cleveland Orchestra in 2006 and was appointed principal percussion in 2013, has been a fixture on the competition’s judging panel. This 11th edition, to be presented by Pearl and held at the Cleveland Institute of Music on Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13 — open to the public on Sunday — will mark his 10th time judging.