SUU Music Faculty and Alumnus to Perform at Largest Percussion Convention in the World

Published: November 11, 2022 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 4 minutes

Dr Lynn Vartan in front of xylophone

The SUU Department of Music is proud to announce yet another success for Dr. Lynn Vartan, Director of Percussion, as she has been invited to perform at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr. Vartan will be playing with the Heartland Marimba Quartet alongside one of her former students, Jordan Nielsen.

Heartland Marimba started in 2014 as a six-day summer festival with performances and workshops at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. After their first year’s success, the festival continued to grow until in 2016, Dr. Vartan hosted a 10-day Heartland Marimba festival on Southern Utah University’s campus. Several of her students participated in workshops and performances with the group, but Jordan Nielsen caught their attention. 

“Heartland loved him when they met him in 2016, and they work with him often,” Lynn explains. “It is extra cool that SUU hosting the festival, my connection with the group, and now Jordan playing with them regularly all came full circle. Teacher and student will join together again in such a big event!”Jordan Nielsen

Originally from Richfield, Utah, Nielsen began his education at SUU in 2014. After his graduation in 2019, Jordan earned a full-ride assistantship in percussion performance at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is now one of the Heartland Marimba Ensemble artists and serves as the Director of Education & Outreach for The Missouri Symphony.

“My time with Dr. V was an experience for which I am continually thankful. The moment I began studying with her, she not only taught me how to become a better percussionist but also what it takes to be a true professional in the field,” shares Nielsen. “Her lessons instilled in me a desire for excellence and lifelong learning. Not a week goes by in which I don’t reflect on a lesson that she has taught me.”

“One of the great gifts we have to give our students can sometimes happen beyond or after the classroom,” says Dr. Vartan. “I truly believe in the power of sharing and making connections. It is such a joy to be able to lift students up with the chance to interact with my professional network. Watching Jordan and others seize the day and reach their full potential is truly amazing and creates opportunities for even more great stories and a greater legacy in the future!”

The Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) is the largest percussion event in the world and brings thousands of percussionists together from across the globe. The Heartland Marimba Quartet (HMQ) concert that is taking place during the convention will feature the current Quartet, eight Heartland Marimba Ensemble artists, and will welcome back founding HMQ members and conductors as well as former collaborators and guest artists. 

“We are reaching back to 2015 and presenting a concert for our percussion community that I feel exhibits the broadness of our mission and activities,” shares a spokesperson for HBQ. “This is our chance to knock their socks off by giving them a little bit of everything. We will be using eight marimbas, a vibraphone, two xylophones, a glockenspiel, crotales, and other small percussion instruments to perform pieces from our whole body of work, including one piece that will be released on an album in 2023.”

The University is proud to have outstanding faculty and alumni perform at the international level and showcase the lifelong learning opportunities that are made possible at Southern Utah University. For more information about the SUU Department of Music and its instrumental area of study, please visit


About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 41 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, filmmaking, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit

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