Michael Varner draws from 28 years experience as a performer presenting repertoire from every musical style including Classical, Contemporary, Jazz, and World beat. He brings to each style of music an unequalled sensitivity and exuberance. Utilizing the wide range of musical colors and sounds from the percussive palette he has established a national reputation for solo recitals as well as guest appearances with Orchestras, Wind Ensembles and Percussion Ensembles. Dr. Varner is professor of percussion at the University of Texas at Arlington, a position he has held for 25 years. As Coordinator of Percussion activities he is involved in every aspect of percussion including Percussion Ensemble, Marching Percussion, Marimba Ensemble, and a full schedule of private students. He has performed chamber music and studio work in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area including appearances with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Varner has been a member of the UTArlington Honors college faculty since 1996. In 2004 he was the recipient of the UTArlington honors College highest award for teaching excellence. Dr. Varner is the first honors college recipient of this prestigious teaching award. His work with culture and music is well known throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Dr. Varner regularly lectures on the music of India, Africa, Japan, Indonesia, the Caribbean and the Americas.
Widely in demand as an educator and clinician, he has been invited to give presentations throughout the United States, Japan and Europe focusing on developing precision technique and musical expression. Most recently he presented clinics for the Connecticut Music Educators State Convention, and the European Music Educators Convention held in Frankfurt, Germany and was invited to present at the Kansas, Indiana, and West Virginia Music Educators State Conventions. In previous years he has been featured at the Music Educators National Conventions and state music education conventions for Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, Indiana, and West Virginia.
He continues to be active nationally in the field of marching percussion adjudicating and presenting clinics. Under his guidance the UT Arlington drum line has been nationally recognized and has performed at numerous marching exhibitions including the 1982, 1988, 1993 and 2000 Percussive Arts Societies International competitions. He has worked with nationally recognized drum and bugle corps, including the DCI champion Chicago Cavaliers and the Toledo Glassmen.
Dr. Varner continues his interest in composition by accepting frequent commission from university and high schools across the United States. He publishes many of his own compositions and has also released works through Southern Music, Studio Four, and Permus Publications. He is currently an artist performer for Yamaha Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Mallets, and Evans Heads.