About Mike Schwebke

Mike Schwebke is an Illinois-based recording and performing artist on steelpan and percussion. He studied steelpan and percussion at Northern Illinois University under Liam Teague, Cliff Alexis, Robert Chappell, Mike Mixtacki and Dr. Greg Byer. While at NIU Mike played in the NIU Latin Jazz Ensemble, NIU Bata trio, several classical ensembles, and the internationally renowned NIU World Steelband.

Mike is also an active educator and clinician working internationally on different projects. In Illinois, he has students of steelpan, drumset and percussion. He has taught drumset classes at the Triple Threat Mentoring Organization and currently directs Oswego High School's Marching Percussion with Aaron Spevak. As a part of Paa Kow Band, Mike has been able to perform at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music on two occassions, taking the opportunity to share living African music with a Chicago crowd! He has taken part in a variety of clinics ranging from the history of the steelpan to its future, other clinic topics have included African and Afro-Cuban drumming traditions.

Enabling the creation of new music for steelpan is a huge part of his artistic drive. In 2011 he completed his first collaboration with composer Kyle Krause. The result was a 3 piece suite of short works for steelpan solo and duet. In fall of 2013, Mike gave a a recital of almost entirely new music for steelpan. It featured works by Todd Jelinek, Kyle Krause and Kevin Bobo (a piece commissioned and premiered a few months earlier by Liam Teague). In 2016, Mike was able to premier a duet for Double Second Steelpan and Clarinet by Krause as well as exhibit some of his previously commissioned works as a guest in a composition lecture at the Peabody Conservatory. Mike will present a recital programmed entirely of commissioned pieces in 2018.

In his many performances over the years, Mike has shared the stage with artists like Liam Teague, Dave Katz, Salah Wilson, Steve Grismore, Paa Kow, Ethan Bell and many others. Mike regularly performs around the Chicago and northern Illinois area. In the studio, he has recorded on drumset, steelpan and other percussion instruments.  Recently he played drumset and sang backup on the Ethan Bell Band single “Summertime.”  He also spent time in the studio and on stage with the Furgeson/Moritz Hammered Dulcimer Duo.  The 2017 Pan Rocks LA recording project featured 20 steelpan player (lead by Tracy Thornton) and a rock icon rhythmn section made up of Stephen Perkins, Billy Sheehan, and Tracii Guns. Mike has been a featured soloist with the NIU World Steelband, has performed at PASIC in 2011, 2015 and 2017, as well as traveled to Trinidad for Panorama. Mike and a small steelband of pan majors from NIU performed at the 2012 Hyde Park Jazz Festival and the Matthew Tembo World Music Celebration.   In recent years, he has performed at festivals like Denver's City Park Jazz Festival, the Summer Solstice Indie Music Festival, Santa Fe Bandstand, the Montreal International Steelpan Festival and many others.

Mike has been featured as a soloist with steelbands and jazz ensembles across the United States.

Mike endorses Vic Firth Drum Sticks and 63rd Street Percussion Cajons.


  • 2005
    Iko Iko
    WCC Youth Steelband
  • 2009
    "Just Wondering" Single
    As of Yet
  • 2009
    Harter Road
    Breakfast Club Steelband
  • 2010
    After Midnight
    Moritz/Ferguson Duo
  • 2012
    "Summertime" Single
    Ethan Bell Band
  • 2013
    NIU Steelband
  • 2017
    Paa Kow Band
  • 2017
    Project LA Video/EP Sessions
    Pan Rocks Steelband