As the timpanist of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1942 until his retirement in 1981, Cloyd Duff earned a reputation as one of the finest timpanists of the twentieth century, known the world over for his beautiful, singing sound and his flawless musicianship. He was an absolute master of touch, finesse, and intonation, and also a master at the myriad details of the instrument - stick making, head clearing, head tucking and mounting, instrument maintenance and so on. For his students he was an inspiration; for his colleagues, he was the rock-solid foundation of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Cloyd E. Duff Duff was born in Marietta, Ohio and raised in East Liverpool, Ohio. He studied timpani and percussion with Oscar Schwar, who was the timpanist of the Philadelphia Orchestra for forty years. He graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music of Philadelphia.
Cloyd Duff was timpanist of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra 1938-42 and was a member of the Leopold Stokowski All-American Youth Orchestra on its 1940 South American tour and 1941 transcontinental United States tour. He has performed under most of the leading orchestral conductors of the world and has recorded for Columbia, Epic, Victor and Angel Records.
Cloyd Duff has been the principal timpanist of the Cleveland Orchestra since 1942, and with this orchestra has given many concerts in most of the large cities of the United States and Canada. He has toured all the countries of Europe and the Soviet Union, receiving personal critical acclaim.
Cloyd Duff has taught at Baldwin-Wallace College and Western Reserve University. He is presently teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the new Blossom Festival School of the Cleveland Orchestra Blossom Festival.