Dr. Ryan Frost

Ryan Frost joined the UNI School of Music faculty in 2016 where he teaches applied percussion lessons, percussion methods, and directs the UNI Percussion/Marimba, West African (UNI-WADE), and Taiko Drum Ensembles.  He previously held teaching positions at Fairmont State University, Waynesburg University, Washington and Jefferson College, Middle Tennessee State University, and the University of Northern Iowa.  Frost was pleased to receive the Outstanding Adjunct Award for Teaching Excellence at Fairmont State University.

As an active educator and performer, Frost has experience in western and non-western music and has presented clinics and hands-on workshops across the country for groups of all ages and levels of experience. He was the recipient of the Global Education Opportunities grant which enabled him to study Ghanaian drumming and dance at the Dagbe Cultural Institute and Arts Center and the Dagara Music Center in Ghana.  In addition to African drumming, Frost has performed with and led Brazilian, Indonesian gamelan, Japanese taiko, and steel drum ensembles, which enabled him to perform with the WVU Steel Band at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and serve on the staff of the Ellie Mannette Festival of Steel Summer Music Festival.

Recently, Frost’s research, “Halim El-Dabh’s Use of Images to Depict Sound in Sonic No. 7 and Sonic No. 10,” was featured at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and won first place in the West Virginia University Creative Arts, Faculty-Student Mentored Graduate Research Awards.

Frost has performed with the Morgantown Community Orchestra, Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, and Wartburg Community Symphony Orchestra.  His primary teachers include Michael Vercelli, George Willis, Lalo Davila, Jim White, David Pruett, Randy Hogancamp, Jeffrey Smith, and Allan Jacobson.  Frost received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from West Virginia University, a Master of Arts degree from Middle Tennessee State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Northern Iowa.  Ryan proudly endorses Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets.

Mr. Barry Dvorak

Barry Dvorak graduated from Crestwood High School in 1987 and studied at U.N.I. From 1989 to the end of the 2010-11 school year, Dvorak served as the percussion coordinator for the Cedar Falls Community Schools, where he instructed the 7-12 grade percussionists and facilitated the drumline in the fall and percussion ensembles in the spring. Mr. Dvorak also has a private percussion studio, is an active performer with area symphony orchestras, accompanies the Metropolitan Chorale, is an adjudicator for All-State auditions and IHSMA State Solo/Ensemble Festivals, and performs in the Cedar Falls Municipal Band and in a contemporary church band. In addition, he is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and has acted as secretary of the Iowa chapter since 2008. Mr. Dvorak resides in Cedar Falls with his wife, Chris, and their daughters, Anna and Abby.


man in suit and glasses smilingAaron Ottmar currently serves as Assistant Director of Bands at Iowa City High School. His professional duties include directing the following ensembles at City High: the Little Hawk Marching Band, Symphony Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Workshop, Jazz Lab and Jazz Ensemble. In addition, he teaches woodwind and percussion lessons at City High while teaching brass and percussion lessons at South East Junior High. He previously held teaching positions at Davis County High School (director of bands), Waterloo West High School (percussion instructor), UNI Community Music School (percussion instructor) and Cedar Rapids Xavier High School (percussion instructor) in addition to teaching private percussion/piano lessons for 9 years.

Ottmar strives to maintain an extensive and comprehensive performance experience by playing with the following ensembles in the Eastern Iowa area: Tallgrass Brass Band (percussionist), Jim McDonough Productions (pianist), Cedar Rapids Municipal Band (percussionist), Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony (substitute percussionist) and Orchestra Iowa (substitute percussionist) in addition to performing in other community performances. Additionally, he has received numerous opportunities to perform as a featured soloist. Ottmar has been featured as a guest soloist with the Iowa City Community Band, the University of Northern Iowa Wind Symphony and the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band.

His other performance-based honors include being named as a finalist for the 2014 UNI Spotlight Series Presser Solo Competition, winner of the 2014 UNI Wind Symphony Solo Competition, selected as "audience favorite" in the 2013 UNI Instrumental Concerto Competition, selected as an "honorable mention" in the 2014 Yahama Young Performing Artists Competition, recipient of the Educational Excellence Award for service in the Davis County community from Beta Rho Chapter of Upsilon State (affiliated with Delta Kappa Gamma) and recipient of the 2015 UNI Purple and Old Gold Award for Conspicuous Achievement in Music.

His professional affiliations include the Iowa Alliance for Arts Educators, Percussive Arts Society, Iowa Bandmasters Association, Iowa Music Educators Association, Jazz Educators of Iowa, and the National Association for Music Education. His primary teachers include Randy Hogancamp, Matt Andreini, Chris Merz and Dr. Robert Washut. He received his bachelor's degree in Instrumental Music Education (with a Jazz Emphasis) from the University of Northern Iowa in May of 2015. 

Student Assistants