Peter Kogan knows what it takes to stay busy. Having recently retired as the Principal Timpanist of the Minnesota Orchestra, he has turned his creative energies to another one of his abiding passions: jazz drumming. He wrote and recorded an album of original jazz, titled “Cornucopia,” and released it in 2013 with fellow MNOrch artists and other top-notch players. Peter’s 2nd album, Some Monsterful Wonderthing, was selected as one of the Top 10 Jazz Albums of the Year in the Star Tribune’s 2015 annual Jazz Critics’ Poll.
Peter Kogan began musical studies at age six on the violin, added piano at age eight and drums at age ten. A year later he began serious study with Saul Goodman, timpanist of New York Philharmonic, who would continue to mentor him through high school and undergraduate study at Juilliard. He completed studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Cloyd Duff of the Cleveland Orchestra. He joined the Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell in 1969 as Section Percussion. Three years later he was appointed Principal Percussion and Associate Principal Timpani of the Pittsburgh Symphony.
In 1977 his passion for jazz blues and rock got the better of him, and he left the Pittsburgh Symphony to spend six years in New York City as a drum set player and composer. He backed up blues legends Lightnin’ Hopkins, Honey-Boy Edwards, and Jimmy Witherspoon, groups such as the Drifters and the Crystals, and Rock and Roll legend Bo Diddley. He also performed with the Larry Elgart big band and wrote for and performed with the fusion band, Scratch n’ Sniff. His work in New York received recognition in a profile that appeared in Modern Drummer magazine. He joined the Honolulu Symphony as drum set player and timpanist in 1984, and joined the Minnesota Orchestra as principal timpani two years later.