Nancy Zeltsman

Headshot Nancy Zeltsman

General Info


Chair of Percussion/Marimba

Personal Website


My goal as a teacher is to help each student become his or her best self: a unique, individual artist/performer. I believe this is achievable through broad general knowledge (context), thoughtful repertoire choices, and developing one's own capacity for musical expression.

Nancy Zeltsman joined the Conservatory percussion faculty in 1993 and has been chair of percussion/marimba since 2005. She teaches marimba performance and chamber music. Additionally, she has taught at Berklee College of Music since 1993.

Zeltsman has premiered over 125 solo and chamber marimba works, some of which are cornerstones of the literature, including pieces by Michael Tilson Thomas, Paul Simon, Gunther Schuller, Louis Andriessen, Carla Bley, and Steven Mackey. She has performed throughout the United States and Europe and in Mexico, China, and Japan as a soloist and chamber musician. From 1985 to 1996, she performed as the duo Marimolin with Sharan Leventhal. Zeltsman released three CDs with Marimolin, three solo CDs, and a marimba duo CD with Jack Van Geem, and she was the soloist in W. T. McKinley’s marimba concerto recorded by Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

Since 2001, Zeltsman has been artistic director of Zeltsman Marimba Festival, a (mostly) annual two-week summer seminar and concert series. Zeltsman was project coordinator and editor of Intermediate Masterworks for Marimba (supported by about 200 people): two published volumes containing 24 marimba solos (C. F. Peters Corporation), recorded on a double-CD (Bridge Records). She authored a marimba method, Four-Mallet Marimba Playing: A Musical Approach for All Levels (Hal Leonard). This year, 2016, will mark the fourth time she has served on the jury of the biennial TROMP International Percussion Competition (Eindhoven, the Netherlands). In 2013, she was appointed regular guest professor of marimba at Conservatorium van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where she teaches two weeks per year.

Zeltsman earned a B.M. in percussion from New England Conservatory (NEC), where she studied with Vic Firth. She was a fellow at Tanglewood Music Center in 1978.

She lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a Pearl/Adams Artist and endorses the Nancy Zeltsman Series of mallets made by Encore Mallets.

Professional Awards and Recognitions

  • Jury member (TROMP International Percussion Competition, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2010)
  • Judge (Percussive Arts Society Marimba Competition, 2016)

Recent Engagements

  • Zeltsman Marimba Festival On Tour (Luxembourg, 2016)—Artistic director
  • Zeltsman Marimba Feitival 13th Season (Rutgers University, 2015)—Artistic director
  • Zeltsman Marimba Festival On Tour (China, 2014)—Artistic director
  • Zeltsman Marimba Festival On Tour (Japan, 2014)—Artistic director

Michael Norsworthy & Nancy Zeltsman - Poèmes pour mi (3 movements) by Olivier Messiaen