Tom Marko is a drum set player and composer currently serving as Director of Jazz Studies at Illinois State University in Normal, IL where he directs two jazz big bands, coordinates jazz combos and teaches improvisation, and private drum set lessons. Dr. Marko is also the coordinator of ISU’s annual Jazz Festival that has featured guest artists such as Randy Brecker, Marshall Gilkes, Dave Pietro, Wayne Bergeron, Ernie Watts, Marvin Stamm, Steve Wiest, Eric Marienthal and many more. Very active in central Illinois and the mid-West as a performer and adjudicator, Marko can often be heard with “Kevin Hart and the Vibe Tribe,” “The Brazilionaires,” “The Todd Kelly Quintet,” “David Hoffman,” “The Travis Wesley Trio,” and his own group “Tom Marko and the Inner Light.” He holds the Bachelor of Music degree in percussion performance from Washington State University, the Master of Music degree in jazz performance from the University of South Florida and the Doctor of Arts degree in theory and composition from the University of Northern Colorado, where he played drums in the award winning “UNC Jazz Lab Band I,” and “Combo I.” He has studied percussion and drum set with David Jarvis, Dave Hardman, David Via, Gray Barrier and Steve Davis. He has also studied theory and improvisation with Greg Yasinitsky and Jack Wilkins and jazz composition and arranging with Chuck Owen. In the summer of 2001 Tom was one of twenty-three students from across the U.S. selected to attend “Jazz Aspen Snowmass” in Aspen, Colorado under the artistic direction of Christian McBride. His drum set playing can be heard on Algo Diferente (2015) by The Brazilionaires, The Travis Wesley Trio’s recent recordings Cycle by Three (now playing on Pandora Internet Radio) and Natural Diversion (2012), The David Hoffman Sextet Live (2004), Alive XVII: For the Last Time (2000) by UNC Jazz Lab Band I, Greenwich Blue’s When Our Time Comes (1997), and Fireshaker (1997) by The Dan McMillion Groovin’ High Big Band. “Inner Light” is Marko’s first album as a composer/leader and features the great Scott Wendholt on trumpet, Doug Stone on saxophone, Harold Greene on guitar, Kevin Hart on piano, keyboard and vibraphone, Mike Stryker on piano, Andy Crawford on bass, and Manny Bedi on Tabla.