Wade Culbreath studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He is Principal Timpanist and Percussionist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Principal Percussionist with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Timpanist with the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra.
Wade has also freelanced as Percussionist and Timpanist with orchestras in Los Angeles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and New Music Group and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. He has worked with many of the world’s leading conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Pierre Boulez, Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Zubin Mehta, Andre Previn, Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach and Kent Nagano.
Recordings with the Los Angeles Philharmonic include Debussy’s Images, Adams’ Naive and Sentimental Music, Salonen’s L.A. Variations, Hindemith’s Sinfonische Metamorphosen and Mathis der Maler, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite and Reich’s Three Movements and Tehillim. Wade appears on two of Steve Reich’s Nonesuch recordings, “You Are (Variations)” and “Daniel Variations” with the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
He has played on hundreds of soundtracks for leading film composers including John Williams, James Horner, Randy Newman, Danny Elfman, Michel Legrand and Alan Silvestri. He was Principal Percussionist for Alexander Desplat’s Oscar-nominated score for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and recently played on Mychael Danna’s score for Life of Pi which received an Academy Award.