Jacob Nissly is the Principal Percussionist of the San Francisco Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Prior to his appointment in San Francisco, Nissly was the Principal Percussionist of the Cleveland Orchestra for two seasons and the Principal Percussionist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for one season. Previously, he was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach for two seasons. He has performed additionally with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera, Houston Symphony, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. He can be heard on recordings with the San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's Grammy award winning recording of John Adams' "City Noir." In 2014, Nissly gave three solo recitals at the SFJAZZ center as a part of the San Francisco Jazz Festival. In 2015, he was a featured artist at the Ojai Music Festival.
Nissly is on the percussion faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Nissly is a regular coach at the New World Symphony. He was an adjunct Professor of Percussion at the Eastman School of Music for three years and at the Cleveland Institute of Music for one year. Nissly has taught classes at The Juilliard School, Univeristy of California-San Diego, University of Michigan, Florida State University, Ohio State University, Indiana University, Northwestern University, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Seoul Philharmonic, Verbier Junior Orchestra, and the various PAS Days of Percussion in northern California, Ontario, and Louisiana. He served as a percussion coach for NYO-USA and NYO-2 during the 2017 and 2018 summers. He spent five summers as the percussion coach at the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra.
Nissly holds a Bachelor of Music and Jazz Studies degree from Northwestern University, where he studied with Michael Burritt, James Ross, and Paul Wertico. He received his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Greg Zuber and Dan Druckman. He began his percussion studies with Woody Smith in Iowa.