Mark Gonder

Mark Gonder

Title: Special Lecturer
Dept/Program: Music - Jazz Percussion
Office: Guzzetta Hall 338
Phone: 330-972-7590


Mark Gonder is Special Lecturer in the School of Music at The University of Akron for Drum Set and Percussion, and is combo coach in Jazz Studies. He is also a member of the Faculty Jazz Group.

A native Akronite, Mark graduated from Ellet High School and attended The University of Akron. Under Roland Paolucci’s leadership, he played in the Akron Jazz Workshop from 1973-1976, and the University of Akron Jazz Ensemble from 1976-1979, culminating in a performance at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and a tour of France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland.  In 1979 he joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra, touring the United States, South America, and Japan.  Following his road experience, Mark spent seven years in New York City as a freelance musician, working with Doc Cheatham, Stan Rubin, and many others. While in NYC, he studied with Billy Hart, Horacee Arnold, and Kenwood Denard.

After moving back to Northeast Ohio, he served as principal drummer for the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra from 1990- 2013, the Jack Schantz Jazz Unit, as well as working countless club dates, recording sessions, and radio and television jingles.

In 2005, as a member of the UA Faculty Jazz Group, Mark served as musical ambassador to Akron’s sister city – Chemnitz, Germany and performed concerts there, as well as in Leipzig, Dresden, and Plauen.

In 2009, the UA Faculty Jazz Group was invited by the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil to perform a number of concerts and master classes.

In 2015, at the request of the U.S. State Department, the UA Faculty Jazz Group performed for the ceremonies marking the opening of the new embassy in Rabat, Morocco, followed by a series of concerts in Casablanca, Fez, and Khouribga.

Mark has performed with Michael Spiro, Christian McBride, Alex Acuna, Arturo Sandoval, Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Holman, Billy Byers, Frank Foster, Sammy Nestico, Slide Hampton, and Maria Schneider. With the Jazz Unit, he has performed tributes to Jimi Hendrix (with Vernon Reid), Frank Zappa (with Ernie Watts), and Buddy Rich (with the Dave Banks Big Band).

He has recorded with The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, the Jazz Unit, and the Jack Schantz Quartet.