Bill Wanser has served as principal percussionist of The Phoenix Symphony since 1975. His interest in drumming began with his family's involvement in Scottish Bagpipe bands; however, his musical career began on the piano at age seven. A year later Wanser began formal drum lessons, and soon after, was drumming in a pipe band. By his senior year in high school, he had received high marks and awards for his drumming, including the Northwest Bagpipe Band Drumming Championship.
Wanser holds a bachelor's of music degree in education from the University of Washington and a master's degree in timpani and percussion performance from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Fred Hinger, former timpanist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and retired principal timpanist of the Metropolitan Opera.
Prior to joining The Phoenix Symphony, Wanser served for one year as a member of the percussion section of the Florida Symphony. His professional activities have included performing with the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming, San Salvador International Music Festival under the baton of Eduardo Mata, Seattle Symphony, the contemporary music group Ensemble 21 and as timpanist/percussionist with the Summit Brass. He has served as a faculty member with the Marrowstone Music Festival in the State of Washington, as adjunct faculty at Arizona State University, and as an artist/clinician for Sabian Cymbals and for Aquarian Accessories. He also works to continue the development of orchestral percussionists through private teaching.
During the summer, Wanser goes home to his 1890's log house in Washington, which he rebuilt by hand during 10 summers. When not performing, he enjoys a variety of hobbies including woodworking, collecting/restoring older percussion instruments, and enjoys spending time with his wife Pam and their two Great Pyrenees dogs.