Britton-René Collins, percussion

Britton-René Collins

Hailed as an “astounding virtuoso” and “exhilarating” performer, percussionist Britton-René Collins is a winner of the 2020 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, receiving the Ambassador Prize for her exceptional musicianship and demonstrated passion for creating social change in her endeavors as both an educator and performer.

A Grand Prize winner of the 2022 Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition and the 2021 Chicago International Music Competition, Collins has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in the United States, Canada, and Europe. She has performed with several orchestras including the Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In addition to her active solo career, she enjoys life as a chamber musician and co-director with her New York City-based groups “Excelsis Percussion Quartet” and “Vision Duo.”

As an advocate for new music, Collins is  involved in generating new solo and chamber works for multi-percussion and marimba. Most recently, she was the first percussionist to ever be awarded the prestigious Princeton University Mary Mackall Gwinn Hodder Fellowship (2024-2025). During her fellowship year, she will conduct research and commission new works by underrepresented composers as part of her 10-month appointment, “Sphygmology— Cultural Exchange for Solo Percussion,” at the Lewis Center for the Arts, which will culminate with her debut performance installation, “Sphygmology,” centered on desegregating Western Classical Music spaces through utilizing percussion as a medium for celebrating Black identity.

Born in the United States, Britton-René Collins began playing the piano at age five. She discovered percussion at eight years old when she became intrigued by the drum set. She quickly fell in love with playing rock, jazz, and pop music on the drum set, which ignited her enthusiasm to explore various percussion instruments and styles of music. She received her B.M. from the University of Toronto with Aiyun Huang, Beverley Johnston, and John Rudolph, where she won the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and performed the Canadian premiere of Sergei Golovko’s first marimba concerto alongside Maestro Uri Mayer and the UTSO. She received her M.M. from the University of Michigan, where her primary instructors were Doug Perkins and Ian Antonio.