ORCHESTRAL perspective:
Comparing Cymbal Selection in the Orchestral Literature with Edward Choi

Anders Åstrand sits down with Edward Choi, Principal Percussionist with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra to talk about his cymbal choices in the orchestral literature. From Mahler to Bartók, Ed performs 10 popular excerpts and discusses his views when selecting cymbals for the appropriate tonal color and feel in order to portray his personal sound for each piece. Ed also shares his recommendations for how to practice and develop a touch with any new product.

Literature excerpts:
Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 2B
Bizet: Carmen Overture
Sibelius: Finlandia
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4
Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin
Mahler: Symphony No. 1
Debussy: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Special thanks to The Percussion Conservatory for providing the performance excerpts for this interview.

The Percussion Conservatory is an education platform composed exclusively of world-class percussion content. Be sure to check out thepercussionconservatory.com for Ed’s full video and discussion of 16 excerpts – as well as a comprehensive library of dedicated professionals who share the goal of helping percussionists effectively advance their careers!


Edward Choi joined the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004 and became Principal Percussionist in 2007.

Mr. Choi has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Toronto Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Malaysian Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, and the Asia Philharmonic Orchestra.

As a chamber musician, he was a founding member of the Exit 9 Percussion Group, winners of the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition.

He is originally from Canada and studied music at the University of Toronto, Northwestern University, and Rutgers University. Mr. Choi holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts as well as a degree in English Literature. He studied percussion with Alan Abel, She-e Wu, James Ross, Michael Burritt, John Rudolph and Russell Hartenberger.

As an educator, he has held teaching positions at Sookmyung Women’s University, Kyunghee University, Hanyang University and Seoul National University in Korea. Mr. Choi has taught clinics and masterclasses in Canada, the United States, Australia, Japan, and China. He has also served on the Symphonic Committee of the International Percussive Arts Society and has presented an orchestral clinic at the PAS International Convention in 2014.


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