Dr. Mario Gaetano is currently a professor in the WCU School of Music where he teaches applied percussion, percussion ensemble, and percussion methods. Prior to joining the WCU faculty in 1979, he taught in the public schools of Ballston Spa, NY, and Portsmouth, VA. His principal teachers included James Petercsak, Harold Jones, and Frank Shaffer. His composition teachers included Eliot DelBorgo and Robert Washburn.
A highly accomplished percussion artist, Dr. Gaetano has appeared as a soloist in numerous U.S. states for various professional gatherings, including performances at the Ludwig International Symposium; the Music Teachers National Association Convention; the PAS "Days of Percussion" in New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee; and the North Carolina Music Educators Association Convention. In 1984, he was a finalist in the prestigious Performers Competition sponsored by the National Association of Composers held annually at the Schoenberg Institute in Los Angeles, CA. He has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra and Cullowhee Music Festival Orchestra. He is currently a member of the Asheville Symphony and has served as a member of the North Carolina Symphony and the Memphis Symphony.
Dr. Gaetano has authored numerous scholarly articles on percussion literature and pedagogy for various national and international journals including The Instrumentalist; Band World; Woodwind, Brass and Percussion; NACWPI Journal; Percussionist; Percussive Notes; Percussion News; and Percussive Notes Research Edition. He is a past president of the North Carolina chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, and sits on the International Composition Contest Committee of PAS. He also is an associate editor of the North Carolina Music Educator and edits the percussion column.
Dr. Gaetano is a highly respected composer and arranger of contemporary music for percussion. He has over 30 published works to his credit which are performed regularly at colleges and universities across the U.S. and abroad. His works are published by Alfred Music, Studio 4 Productions, Permus Corporation, Music for Percussion, Inc., Pioneer Music, C. Alan Publications, and Innovative Music. His snare drum method book, The Complete Snare Drummer, was recently published by Mel Bay Publications. Gaetano has four ASCAP Awards to his credit. His arrangement of Chick Corea's “Spain” was recently recorded by the critically acclaimed Ju Percussion Group of Taiwan on their 15th anniversary CD set.
Dr. Gaetano holds professional memberships in the Percussive Arts Society, the Music Educators National Conference, ASCAP and the College Music Society.