Dani Fortner has been performing since the age of six, when she began taking voice and piano lessons. She switched to drums at age nine and never turned back.
Originally from Washington state, Dani grew up studying with Seattle session drummer Sean Dugaw and Portland Opera and Oregon Symphony percussionist Tom Sessa. After realizing that she needed something more than technique books and recordings, she was thrown into an adult jazz combo at age eleven to benefit from real playing experience.
Dani is now a freelance percussionist and teacher in the Boston area. She recently received her Masters degree in Percussion Performance from The Boston Conservatory. During her time there, she also studied world percussion and improvisation at Berklee College of Music.
Since moving to Boston in 2011, Dani has performed in a variety of groups including bands, orchestras, musical theater productions, and chamber groups. She also is an original member of Scaramouche Percussion, an all-female ensemble that focuses on combining drumming with theatrics and making percussion music relatable for all audiences.
Dani has been teaching since she was fifteen. In an effort to make music lessons accessible for everyone, she has also developed several programs that encourage the use of every-day objects as percussion instruments, for those who may not have drums in their schools.
In addition to drums, Dani also started playing marimba at age nine. However, she was very small and had to stand on a giant drum case in order to even reach the keys! She used that drum case as a boost for several years in many different performances. It is still brought up and laughed about at family gatherings to this day.