Man with drum sticks looks away from the camera a painted wall in the background
  • Faculty

Darryl Kniffen


Percussion Instructor

Darryl Kniffen is a drummer/educator/composer from upstate NY who leads the six piece jazz fusion ensemble Planet Kniffen. Their album Dreamland debuted at #5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album chart and #13 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart in May 2018. Jazziz Magazine writes “With one notable exception – a jazz interpretation of AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ – all compositions were penned by the drummer, who displays a range of inspirations and emotions across an evocative nine-song set. The cohesion of the musicians is apparent, and they seem locked in with one another musically and conceptually.” Planet Kniffen has performed at numerous clubs and festivals including Rockwood Music Hall NYC, Hotel Utah SF, Easthampton Jazz Festival MA and Vermont Jazz Center. Along with leading and composing for Planet Kniffen, Darryl remains a busy freelance musician. He has performed with such artists as Broadway’s Maxine Linehan, Saturday Night Live saxophonist Alex Foster, Chilean vocalist Natalia Bernal, Vermont Jazz Center director/pianist Eugene Uman, and has recorded for singer-songwriter Mondo Cozmo. Along with performing and composing, Darryl teaches music courses in the Arlington School District in Arlington, VT. In 2016, he was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year by the University of Vermont for his work in the Arlington School District. Darryl received his Masters and Bachelors degrees from Crane School of Music SUNY Potsdam and resides in Bennington VT.