Mike Schwebke is an Illinois-based recording and performing artist on steelpan and percussion. He studied steelpan and percussion at Northern Illinois University under Liam Teague, Cliff Alexis, Robert Chappell, Mike Mixtacki and Dr. Greg Byer. While at NIU Mike played in the NIU Latin Jazz Ensemble, NIU Bata trio, several classical ensembles, and the internationally renowned NIU World Steelband.
Mike is also an active educator and clinician working internationally on different projects. In Illinois, he has students of steelpan, drumset and percussion. He has taught drum set classes at the Triple Threat Mentoring Organization and currently directs Oswego High School’s Marching Percussion with Aaron Spevak. As a part of Paa Kow Band, Mike has been able to perform at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music on two occassions, taking the opportunity to share living African music with a Chicago crowd! He has taken part in a variety of clinics ranging from the history of the steelpan to its future, other clinic topics have included African and Afro-Cuban drumming traditions.
Enabling the creation of new music for steelpan is a huge part of his artistic drive. In 2011 he completed his first collaboration with composer Kyle Krause. The result was a 3 piece suite of short works for steelpan solo and duet. In fall of 2013, Mike gave a a recital of almost entirely new music for steelpan. It featured works by Todd Jelinek, Kyle Krause and Kevin Bobo (a piece commissioned and premiered a few months earlier by Liam Teague). In 2016, Mike was able to premier a duet for Double Second Steelpan and Clarinet by Krause as well as exhibit some of his previously commissioned works as a guest in a composition lecture at the Peabody Conservatory.Listen to the full episode