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Faculty Profiles

Kathleen Kastner Faculty Headshot

Kathleen Kastner, D.M.A.

Professor of Music (Percussion, Percussion Ensemble, Music History)

On Faculty since 1972
630.752.5830



Kathleen Kastner teaches all aspects of percussion, as well as world music and twentieth century music history. As Wheaton’s first resident percussion teacher, she founded the Percussion Ensemble in the fall of 1972. She received her doctorate from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she studied with Thomas Siwe.

Dr. Kastner has been involved in the Percussive Arts Society for many years, having previously served as a member of the Board of Directors, associate editor for research of Percussive Notes, chair of the Scholarly Research Committee, PAS historian, and Illinois State Chapter President. In 2012, she was awarded the Percussive Arts Society Outstanding Service Award.

After many years of solo and chamber music performances, as well as involvement in faculty improvisation performances, her passion turned to percussion pedagogy, with her book, The Marimba: Teach It! published in 2013. She received the Senior Teaching Award from Wheaton College in 2011, and most recently, Dr. Kastner was named the 2017 Alumna of the Year for Distinguished Service to Alma Mater by the Wheaton College Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Beyond her primary focus on percussion, Dr. Kastner has traveled to many parts of the world, exploring cultures and music outside of the western tradition and sharing those experiences with her students. Seeking to see the beauty of people in other cultures and their musical expressions in God’s created world has brought great joy to her!

University of Illinois
D.M.A., Percussion Performance and Literature, 1989

American Conservatory of Music, Chicago
M.M., Percussion Performance, 1976

Wheaton College
B.M., Percussion Performance, 1971

  • Percussion
  • World Music
  • Twentieth Century Music History
  • Percussive Arts Society