Jack Van Geem - Biography

At the age of four Jack began playing the marimba and playing with wood. His mother loved music and encouraged his marimba playing; his grandfather, a wonderful wood worker apprenticed building cable cars in San Francisco, encouraged and helped him with his carpentry. Now in his ‘Second Childhood’ Jack continues to pursue his twin passions. 

In his intervening adult years he made his living as Principal Percussionist and Assistant Timpanist with the San Francisco Symphony and taught at the San Francisco Conservatory and Colburn School in Los Angeles. He has authored five books on percussion and performance, recorded a solo CD and a CD of marimba duets. Currently performs in a jazz trio called “Full Circle” specializing in the tangoes and choros of South America.

After retiring from the Symphony Jack and his Wife built their home in Mendocino and furnished it with Jack’s own pieces. He now spends his time making furniture for others.

“I’m inspired by the beauty of wood in its natural state. Every piece of wood carries its history in its appearance and I try to preserve and enhance it through my choices of complementary woods and style. Everyone of my pieces is unique for that reason. The rhythm and shape of the wood’s grain dictates the accompaniment of the other design features. 

As I work on a project I frequently change direction as I become more familiar with the elements. Working in this way reminds me of the dynamic quality of live performance.”