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Mark Stone

Headshot - MARK STONE

Prof. Mark Stone, Guba

Professor of Music
Coordinator, World Music and Percussion
Arts Area Leader, OU/Pontiac Initiative

[email protected]
(248) 370-2044


Prof. Mark Stone, 
Guba is an improviser-composer and performer-scholar with a passion for using music to bring diverse communities together. An internationally recognized percussionist, Stone has performed with the foremost musicians of Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, India, Trinidad, Ecuador, and the United States. As a composer and improviser his work is rooted in traditions stretching from classical Indian music to European concert music and American jazz to traditional African music. The cross-cultural capacity of his music has been described as, “revolutionary to our musical landscape. The experiences he gained traversing geographical borders has put him in a unique position to cross genre borders and break conceptual boundaries.” 

His newest project, the Stone Sound Collective, crosses these borders and boundaries as it unites diverse musicians and instruments. The group brings together ancient percussion traditions of Africa and India with the lyricism of stings and saxophone. The collective performs original compositions rooted in member’s wide-ranging musical influences, creating music that celebrates the oneness of humanity by uplifting hearts, expanding minds and connecting souls.

Stone was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at Makerere University, where he researched traditional Ugandan music and performed with the Nakibembe Xylophone Group. He continues to perform and record with the internationally-acclaimed Ugandan multi-instrumentalist Haruna Walusimbi.

As a longtime member of the Bernard Woma Ensemble, Stone performed twice at the Filmua Kukur Bagr Festival in Ghana, with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall, with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center, and premiered concerti for gyil trio and orchestra with the South Dakota Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Berliner Symphoniker, and Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic (South Africa). Through his dedication to the study of Dagara Gyil music, the Gyil Guba elders of Hiineteng, Ghana honored him with the title of "Gyil Guba" in recognition of his 2016 completion of the Gyil Goba initiation.

In 2012 and 2014, Stone was a featured artist in India at the Bharat Sangeet Utsav Pan-Indian Music Festivals in the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, and New Delhi. Through his travels in India and regular performances at the annual Cleveland Tyagaraja Festival, he has collaborated with legendary Carnatic musicians Dr. Balamuralikrishna, Guruvayur Dorai, Sudha Raghunathan, Chitravina Ravikiran, and the Carnatica Brothers.

As co-founder of Jumbie Records, Stone has produced and recorded twelve albums. Through Jumbie Records, he also directed the Biakuye Percussion Ensemble and Southpaw Isle Steelband, sponsored annual music festivals in Ghana and Uganda, and produced multiple world music festivals in New York and Detroit. In addition, he has served four times as a performer/adjudicator for the International Marimba and Steelpan Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa and twice as a soloist/clinician for the International Percussion Festival in Quito, Ecuador.

A Professor of Music at Oakland University, Stone coordinates the world music and percussion programs in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. At OU, he created and serves as adviser for the Master of Music in World Percussion Performance and the World Music Minor. He also leads the Global Arts Study Abroad program to Ghana and directs both the African Ensemble and Creative Jazz Ensemble. Stone recently received OU’s Community Engaged Faculty Award, recognizing faculty who excel in community- based work. He is the Arts Area Leader for the OU/Pontiac Initiative and chair of the Percussive Arts Society’s World Percussion Committee. As a clinician, he has presented numerous workshops and concerts at universities throughout the United States.

Stone is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Africa, where he is pursuing a transdisciplinary study of performance praxis through extensive research in musicology, embodied cognition, and indigenous knowledge systems. He recently presented his research at the bi-annual conference of the Pan African Society of Musical Arts Education. Stone is a featured performer/composer and on the leadership team of the newly launched South Africa/America Music Exchange (SAME). An initiative of Education Africa, SAME is predicated on the transformative impact of music across cultural boundaries, with emphasis on the black roots shared by the rich, and globally impactful musical lineages of South Africa and the United States.

As an American Baha’i, Mark Stone is dedicated to promoting equity, justice, and a world embracing vision of humanity.

School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Varner Hall, Room 207
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
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Academic Office: (248) 370-2030
Box Office: (248) 370-3013
Fax: (248) 370-2041