Charles Dowd began playing drums at an early age. His formal training on drumset, vibes, marimba and timpani led to a bachelor's and master's degree in percussion performance under the tutelage of Anthony Cirone. During this period he played jazz drums with Don Ellis and Oscar Williams, and rock with Pablo Cruise's Cory Lerios while working as an "extra" with the San Francisco Symphony. Charles made the move to New York City to do doctoral work on classical timpani and percussion with famed New York Philharmonic timpanist, Saul Goodman, at the Julliard School. He began recording again on drumset, this time as a regular at RCA Studios, as well as free-lance work in New York City performing both classical and jazz.
Accepting an auditioned position in Oregon, he conducts the University of Oregon Percussion Ensemble, which is dedicated to the performance of new and experimental "art" music. Charles is principal timpanist/percussionist with the Eugene (Oregon) Symphony and performs regularly in the famed Hult center for the Performing Arts. As a drumset artist, he is a Ludwig clinician, and is author of A Funky Primer for the Rock Drummer and A Funky Thesaurus for the Rock Drummer. Charles is also the author of Velocity Warm-ups for Jazz Vibes and Marimba and an active mallet player with his own jazz vibes quartet. He is principal timpanist of the Carillo Music Festival in California and records often. Author of The Well-Tempered Timpanist, his versatile playing has sparked critical acclaim.