Erik Barsness grew up in South Saint Paul, Minnesota and started playing percussion in his elementary school band. He received his Bachelors Degree in percussion performance from the University of Minnesota where his teacher was Fernando Meza. Erik has also lived in Stockholm, Sweden and studied for 3 years at the Royal College of Music in Sweden. He graduated with his Masters Degree in percussion from the Royal College of Music and received a Fulbright Scholarship for these studies. His main teachers in Sweden were Anders Loguin of the percussion ensembles Kroumata and Glorious Percussion, Daniel Kåse, principal percussionist with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Roland Johansson, former principal timpanist with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.
Erik has performed throughout the world as a soloist and as a member of various ensembles. In the fall of 2015 Erik performed at the International Havana Theater Festival in Havana, Cuba. European countries he has performed in included Sweden, Finland, Åland, Estonia, Latvia and Germany, he has performed in Russia on three different occasions. In the United States, he has performed at the Festival Dancing in Your Head at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Eye and Ear Festival at the Franconia Sculpture Park, the Walleye Art Gallery in Chicago, IL, and Sprauge Hall at Yale University.
Erik performs frequently with the Minnesota Percussion Trio and CRASH. He has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra and many other Twin Cities musical organizations including the contemporary music ensemble Zeitgeist, Nautilus Music Theater, and Ten Thousand Things Theater.
Erik has received several awards from the American Composers Forum, the Jerome Foundation and was a Fulbright Scholar. In addition to his private studio, Erik has also served as adjunct instructor of percussion at St. Cloud State University.