David Corkhill is one of Britain's most distinguished tympanists and percussionists. He began playing piano at the age of eight and his studies as a harpsichordist at the Royal Academy of Music, London, in 1964. In his second year, he concentrated on percussion, studying with James Blades, Roy Jesson, and Maurice Miles. He began performing in British orchestras in 1967, becoming the principal tympanist the English Chamber Orchestra in 1970. He was associated with Benjamin Britten, who consulted with Corkhill when writing the tympani parts for works such as Death in Venice, Owen Wingrave, and Rejoice in the Lamb. In 1975, he became professor of tympani and percussion at the Guildhall School of Music and the following year was appointed principal percussionist of the Philharmonia Orchestra. Corkhill is also director of both the Guildhall Percussion Ensemble and Barbican Percussion Ensemble. He is an accomplished performer on historical instruments and has worked with period-instrument ensembles ranging from the Martin Best Medieval Ensemble to Christopher Hogwood's Academy of Ancient Music. In 1995, Georg Solti invited Corkhill to perform as the tympanist in the World Orchestra for Peace, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. Corkhill is particularly interested in expanding the chamber music repertoire for percussionists. He recorded Bartók's Sonata for two pianos and percussion two times, and his recording of the work with Solti, Murray Perahia, and Evelyn Glennie was awarded a Grammy Award in 1988.