Eric Millstein

Percussion / Performance

Eric Millstein is a percussionist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and he joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 2014. 

A faculty member of the DePaul University School of Music since 2004, Mr. Millstein frequently performs with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He was principal percussionist and assistant principal timpanist of the Grant Park Music Festival from 2002 to 2019.

Mr. Millstein presented a clinic at the 2021 Percussive Arts Society International Convention and has given classes at a variety of schools and festivals, including Tanglewood Music Center, Interlochen Arts Academy, and the New World Symphony.

Mr. Millstein received a Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Tufts University. He earned a Master of Music degree from Temple University and subsequently completed his education as a member of the New World Symphony. Mr. Millstein’s principal percussion teachers were Nora Davenport, Will Hudgins, and Alan Abel.

Who has encouraged or supported you during your career?

I was very fortunate to have dedicated, encouraging, and supportive teachers throughout my education. My main teachers were Nora Davenport, Will Hudgins, and Alan Abel. Tom Stubbs was also an important influence on me. All four of them were and are amazing teachers, and I strive to match their level of dedication with my own students.

What’s one piece of music or one specific concept you love to teach and why?

The most important thing to me is always phrasing and the musical line. Choose any note at random from a piece of music—where did that note come from, and to where is it going? Does it belong to a group of notes, and if so, what is its role in that group? To me, this kind of understanding is the basis of good music-making, and it's what I most love to teach.