Alan Abel, former Associate Principal Percussionist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, retired in 1997 after 38 years of service. He continues to perform as a substitute or as an extra percussionist.
Mr. Abel attended the Eastman School of Music, where he was also a part-time member of the Rochester Philharmonic. After two years in the Empire Band of the United States Air Force, he joined the Oklahoma City Symphony, where he was Principal Percussion for six years until 1959 when he was hired by the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Mr. Abel has been a faculty member of the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University, Glassboro State College, and the Philadelphia Settlement School. In 1973, he became an adjunct professor at Temple University. In 2002, he added a few more students at Rutgers University. Sixty-four of his former students currently perform, or have performed, with more than 50 symphony and opera orchestras throughout the world. Twenty-nine of his former students are teaching, or have taught at universities, colleges, and conservatories in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Asia. The Alan Abel Summer Orchestral Percussion Seminar began in 2006.
Mr. Abel compiled two books of orchestra studies for timpani and percussion. He has designed and continues to produce symphonic triangles and bass drum stands which are used throughout the world. Mr. Abel is the recipient of outstanding service awards from the Settlement Music School, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Temple University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate at the New England Conservatory of Music in May 2012. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Percussive Arts Society, was inducted into the PAS Hall of Fame in 1998, and became chairman of the PAS Symphonic Committee, for three years, at its inception in 2001.