Rick Kurasz is currently Director of Percussion Studies at Western Illinois University. His duties include teaching applied percussion, directing the Western Illinois University Percussion Ensemble and the Western Illinois University Steel Bands. He received his B.M. in Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, his M.M. from the University of Akron, and his D.M.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In addition to teaching, Rick has performed in numerous orchestras including the Akron Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Idaho State Civic Symphony, Knox-Galesburg Symphony and the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Rick is also a performer of contemporary music and continues to commission and perform new works.
As an active member of the Percussive Arts Society, Rick serves as Illinois Chapter Treasurer and as a member of the New Music Research Committee. He as performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention as soloist and as an ensemble member. Rick is also a clinician and adjudicates throughout Illinois.
Rick is an active composer/arranger in the genre of steel band and is published by Pan Ramajay productions and Panyard Publications. Before coming to Western Illinois University, Rick directed the University of Akron Steel Band, the University of Illinois Steel Band, I-Pan Steel Groove, the Idaho State University Steel Band, and his own combo, Panak. He has twice traveled to Trinidad to perform in the national Panorama festival with the bands Potential Symphony and Starlift. He has shared the stage with pan artists such as Ray Holman, Cliff Alexis, Liam Teague, Robert Grenidge, Ken "Professor" Philmore, Tom Miller, Andy Narell, Pan Ramajay and calypso legend, David Rudder.