A native of Agoura Hills, California, Bryce Leafman is a percussionist, timpanist, and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. In February 2020, Bryce became the first person to win the position of Assistant Principal Timpanist/Section Percussionist with the San Francisco Symphony. Previously, Bryce was the Principal Percussionist of the Billings Symphony Orchestra for the 2019-2020 season. Additionally, Bryce has performed with the Omaha, Berkeley, Marin, and New World symphonies, the Boston Philharmonic, and Symphony New Hampshire, to name a few. Bryce is equally at home playing chamber and contemporary music, having performed with groups such as the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and the Empyrean Ensemble and in recital with Orli Shaham, Bela Fleck, Susan Grace, and Jon Novacek, among others. As a soloist, Bryce was the first percussionist to win a concerto competition at the Aspen Music Festival, where he performed William Kraft's Concerto No. 1 for Timpani and Orchestra in 2017. In 2012, Bryce was honored as the Outstanding Percussionist and Director's Award winner at Agoura High School and was given the opportunity to perform the third and fourth movements of Ney Rosauro's Concerto No. 1 for Marimba with the wind ensemble. Additionally, Bryce was the featured vibraphone soloist on "Into the Mind" by Boston-based composer Ari Sussman at New England Conservatory. He has participated in many recording projects and can be heard on Spotify, iTunes, and Naxos Records.
An avid educator, Bryce has taught private lessons in the greater Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco Bay areas for over ten years. Bryce has been awarded teaching fellowships at the New England Conservatory, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, and the Aspen Music Festival. Bryce has also taught for the New England Conservatory Preparatory School and the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Since graduating from Agoura High School, Bryce has returned consistently to guest conduct the wind ensembles and orchestras, coach percussion sectionals, and teach private lessons. In 2013, Bryce was selected as the first percussion coach for the Senior Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble, with whom he coached sectionals and rehearsals and performed in concert. Bryce continued this trend in 2017 when he was appointed as the first Percussion Teaching Assistant for the Boston Youth Symphony. Bryce concluded his time with the BYS by performing as the principal timpanist at the Bach Festival in Leipzig, Germany. Additionally, Bryce served as a guest educator and conductor at Winthrop Middle School in Winthrop, MA. Outside of California and Boston, Bryce's education experience was recognized through teaching fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and School where Bryce taught private lessons, presented group masterclasses, and coached percussion ensembles in the summers of 2017-2019. All of these experiences led to a music director position at a private music school in Fremont, CA where Bryce taught private lessons and ran the percussion chamber music department in the fall of 2019.
Community engagement is also a quintessential aspect of Bryce's musical engagements. Bryce was a recipient of New England Conservatory's Community Performances and Partnerships Program's Individual Fellowship from 2012 through 2016. Through this program, he led masterclasses at multiple schools in the Boston area including Orchard Gardens Elementary School, the Boston Latin School, and the Margarita Muñiz Academy. Bryce also maintained a residency at VinFen, a day-center for adults with disabilities in Allston, MA, where he lead a percussion ensemble for adults with disabilities. From 2013 through 2018, Bryce worked for the Boston Ballet's Adaptive Dance department, providing music in ballet classes for students with disabilities. While a fellow at the Colorado College Summer Music Festival in Colorado Springs, CO and the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC, Bryce performed in a variety of community settings including retirement homes, elementary and middle schools, military bases, and summer day-centers. Upon moving to San Francisco, Bryce was awarded a Conservatory in the Schools fellowship through the San Francisco Conservatory. As a CIS fellow, Bryce performed weekly percussion sectionals and lessons at Presidio Middle School in San Francisco.
Bryce holds a Bachelor of Music with Honors from New England Conservatory, a Master of Music from Boston University, and a Professional Studies Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His main teachers include Edward Stephan and Jacob Nissly of the San Francisco Symphony, and Tim Genis, Daniel Bauch, and Kyle Brightwell of the Boston Symphony. Other teachers include Ted Atkatz of the Chicago Symphony and Perry Dreiman of the Los Angles Philharmonic. He has attended many summer festivals including the Aspen Music Festival and School, Brevard Music Center, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. In 2019, Bryce was the recipient of the prestigious Charles Owen Memorial Fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival.
While primarily a symphonic percussionist, Bryce is equally at home in jazz and Latin settings. Bryce is always looking for new performance and teaching opportunities, and welcomes new challenges.