Pete Korpela


Pete Korpela is a Los Angeles based percussionist, recognized internationally for his versatility in orchestral, latin, jazz, world, rock, and pop music. He has collaborated with such renowned talent as, among others: Danny Elfman; Alan Silvestri; John Powell; Harry Gregson-Williams; Josh Groban; Robbie Williams; Jeff Russo; Henry Jackman; Marco Beltrami; Michael McDonald; Carter Burwell; Disturbed; Alan Parsons; Calle 13; Rickie Lee Jones; Al DiMeola; Kelly Clarkson; Madeleine Peyroux; Lizz Wright; Ed Shearmur; Kandace Springs; Ana Moura; Joe Trapanese; Rob Simonsen; Ben Gibbard; Melody Gardot; Los Angeles Philharmonic; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; Hollywood Bowl Orchestra; Seth MacFarlane; Joel McNeeley; Ron Jones and Don Randi.

Among the drummers and percussionists Pete has had the pleasure of playing and recording with are: Vinnie Colaiuta; J.R. Robinson; Alex Acuna; Aaron Sterling; Peter Erskine; Steve Jordan; Emil Richards; Hal Blaine; Luis Conte; Lenny Castro; Bob Zimmitti; Dan Greco; Don Williams; Brian Kilgore; Wade Culbreath; Shawn Pelton; Brian Frasier Moore; Gary Novak; Ndugu Chancler; Chad Smith; Curt Bisquera; Mark Schulman; Kenny Aronoff; Jim Keltner; Russ Miller; Tom Brechtlein; and Virgil Donati.

Pete has appeared at Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks Ampitheatre, Syndey Opera House and O2 Arena (London). In 2011  he joined Josh Groban’s “Straight to You” world tour and is currently Mr. Groban’s percussionist. In 2012, he toured extensively with jazz vocalist Melody Gardot. Between 2003 and 2007, Pete toured throughout the United States with the first National Tour of Tony-Award-winning Walt Disney’s The Lion King, as a marimbist and featured on-stage percussionist. He has also performed with major Broadway shows Hamilton, Motown and Beautiful.

An active Los Angeles-based studio musician, Pete has been working with composer Jeff Russo on the new Star Trek: Discovery series, which features a wide array of exotic percussion instruments from Pete's ever-growing collection. His work can also be heard on Ready Player One; Ralph Breaks the Internet; The Predator; Christopher Robin; Equalizer 2; Straight Outta Compton; Going in Style; Assassin’s Creed 2; Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations soundtracks. He has featured on popular TV shows, including: The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; Conan O’Brien; Jimmy Kimmel; Ellen; Good Morning America; Live with Kelly; Later… with Jools Holland; Dancing with the Stars; America’s Got Talent; and PBS Presents: Jackie Evancho. And in 2010, Pete performed with Cirque du Soleil as musical director and lead drummer in a nationally televised project.  

Born and raised in Finland, Pete studied orchestral and hand percussion extensively at the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in World Music/Percussion, and at Los Angeles Music Academy. He has studied studio and orchestral percussion under Don Williams, Emil Richards, Joe Porcaro and Michael Fisher, and world percussion with, among others: Lenny Castro, Luis Conte, Kevin Ricard, Michito Sanchez, Glen Velez, Jerry Steinholtz and John Bergamo. As an instrument-maker and innovator, his collaboration with Pearl Percussion led to an original new design called “The Jingle Cajon” which won DRUM Magazine’s “Drummie” award in 2010. He also designed the critically acclaimed “Shaker Pandeiro” for Cooperman Co.