Jason Haaheim was appointed the principal timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 2013. In addition to performances at New York's Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, Haaheim can be seen and heard performing with the MET Orchestra on television, on international radio, and in Live in HD movie theater broadcasts. Haaheim is on faculty at the the New York University Steinhardt School of Music and the Bard Conservatory of Music. A sought-after clinician, Haaheim gives masterclasses both nationally and internationally, and is the founder of the Northland Timpani Summit. He is also a frequent coach for The Orchestra Now (TON), the Carnegie Hall National Youth Orchestra (NYO), and the New York Youth Symphony (NYYS).
Haaheim’s guest principal timpanist engagements have included those with the Seoul Philharmonic, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and the Milwaukee Symphony. He has also been the principal timpanist of the Lakes Area Music Festival, and a resident artist of the Twickenham Festival. Prior to the MET, Haaheim was the principal timpanist of the Southwest Michigan Symphony and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and he performed regularly as timpanist with the Madison Symphony, Illinois Symphony, Peoria Symphony, and the Illinois Philharmonic. Haaheim has also been invited to perform as a guest principal timpanist with the Chicago Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Glimmerglass Festival, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Haaheim began studying piano in fourth grade, adding percussion studies in fifth grade. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Honors Music Performance and Physics from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN; he also holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from UC-Santa Barbara. Influential teachers have included John Tafoya, Indiana University and National Symphony; Dean Borghesani, Milwaukee Symphony; Jonathan Haas, Aspen Music Festival, NYU; and Robert Adney, Gustavus Adolphus College, MacPhail Music School. While auditioning and freelancing, Haaheim worked as a senior research and development engineer at NanoInk, a Chicago-area tech company. In this capacity, he gave invited talks on nanotechnology, authored multiple peer-reviewed publications, and was granted numerous patents. In 2017, this dual-career path was highlighted in an interview with Melissa Block on NPR’s Weekend Edition.
Active in all musical areas, Haaheim has also performed extensively as a chamber musician and jazz drummer. He collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma in a Civic Orchestra / Silk Road Ensemble performance, and recorded the premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s “Terpsichore’s Dream” with members of the Chicago Symphony. Haaheim has performed with Chicago’s ensemble dal niente, and he premiered Ryosuke Yagi’s “Mirrors…for timpani” with the UCSB Ensemble of Contemporary Music. Other projects have included drumming for the jazz-fusion quartet “The J3 Intent” and the alt-country band “The Lost Cartographers.” At Gustavus, Haaheim was selected for the honors recital and won first place in the orchestra’s concerto competition. Extra-musical interests include backpacking and hiking, rock climbing, and both downhill and cross-country skiing.