Marja Kerney

Photo of Marja Kerney
Marja Kerney
Instructor, Percussion
(269) 387-1113
2304 Dalton, Mail Stop 5434
Mailing address: 
School of Music
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5434 USA
  • D.M.A., Percussion Performance, University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance
  • M.M., Percussion Performance, University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance
  • B.M., Percussion Performance, Michigan State University

Dr. Marja Kerney is an instructor at Western Michigan University teaching percussion and music theory. Prior to her appointment at WMU, she was on faculty at Kennesaw State University and Stetson University teaching percussion, aural skills, music history, and the honors course This Is America: Protest Music in the U.S. A native of Michigan, Kerney earned her BM from the Michigan State University College of Music and MM and DMA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. An avid chamber music performer, she cofounded the quartet P4 for two pianos and two percussion as well as the clarinet/percussion duo 421. The duo has performed at various universities and were featured performers at ClarinetFest 2017 in Orlando, FL, where they premiered their newly commissioned work, Two Trees, by Baljinder Singh Sekhon, II. 

As a new music collaborator, Kerney has worked with composers Chen Yi, James Mobberley, Sydney Hodkinson, Zack Browning, Philip Wharton, Baljinder Sekhon, Thad Anderson, Lee Hartman, Shawn Hundley, Ethan Greene, and Chad Rehmann. In addition to her extensive contemporary chamber experience, Kerney has performed as a percussionist/timpanist with the Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Ballet, Florida Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Wichita Symphony, West Shore Symphony, Midland Symphony, and Greater Lansing Symphony, and has served as a pit percussionist for musicals including A Chorus Line, La Cage Aux Folles, 9 to 5, and Spamalot.  She was also a member of Marimba Sol de Chiapas, an authentic Mexican marimba quartet based in Kansas City. Aside from her previous appointments at Kennesaw State and Stetson, she has served on the faculties at Bethune-Cookman University and Seminole State College. Kerney is a longtime member of the Percussive Arts Society, currently serving on the University Pedagogy Committee and the Leadership Steering Committee, and formerly as Secretary/Treasurer of the Florida chapter of PAS. In addition to percussion-related education, she has a vested research interest in protest music and has developed courses and presented well-received lectures on the topic. She remains active as a free-lance percussionist and timpanist in Southwest Michigan.