Erik Barsness grew up in the Twin Cities, in Minnesota. He started playing percussion when he was 11. He received his Bachelors Degree in percussion performance from the University of Minnesota in 2001 where his teacher was Fernando Meza.
From August 2002 until June 2005 Erik lived in Stockholm, Sweden studying at the Royal College of Music in Sweden. He graduated with his Masters Degree in percussion from the Royal College of Music and received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2002 for these studies. His main teachers in Sweden were Prof. Anders Loguin, Daniel Kåse, principal percussionist with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Roland Johansson, former principal timpanist with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.
Erik has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Russia as a soloist and as a member of various ensembles. European countries he has performed in included Sweden, Finland, Åland, Estonia, Latvia and Germany. In the United States, he has performed at the 2000, 2001 and 2005 Festivals Dancing in Your Head at the Walker Art Center, 2001 Eye and Ear Festival at the Franconia Sculpture Park, the Walleye Art Gallery in Chicago, IL, and Sprauge Hall at Yale University.
In addition to performing with Janus Percussion, Erik has been a member of the percussion ensemble CRASH since 2002. CRASH performs the visual percussion works of Mary Ellen Childs. Erik is also member of the Minnesota Percussion Trio, performing educational concerts throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Erik maintains an active private teaching studio and is adjunct instructor of percussion at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN.