Kurt Gartner serves as Associate Director of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and Professor of Percussion at Kansas State University. There, he teaches applied percussion and percussion methods. Also, he directs the Percussion Ensemble, Keyboard Percussion Quartets, and the Latin Jazz Ensemble. As a KSU Tilford Fellow, he coordinated an interdisciplinary study of Cuban arts. On numerous occasions, he has studied at the Escuela Nacionál de Artes in Havana. He has been a Big 12 Faculty Fellow, collaborating with the percussion studio and jazz program at the University of Missouri. There, he provided instruction and performances in Afro-Cuban music and applications of technology in music. He has served as Special Assistant to the Provost and as Coordinator of the university's Peer Review of Teaching Program.

Gartner has performed professionally in orchestral, jazz, chamber, world, and commercial venues, and has performed concerts and clinics at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. He serves as timpanist with the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra and Festival Band in Michigan. Recently, he completed The malletKAT Guidebook, which includes instruction and original compositions for this MIDI percussion controller. He is an endorsing artist for Remo, Sabian, Vic Firth, and Etymotic Research.

Prior to his appointment at KSU, Gartner served as Associate Professor of Bands at Purdue University. He earned his Doctor of Arts degree at the University of Northern Colorado, where he directed ensembles, taught jazz history, and was the Assistant Director of the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival. Also, he received the Graduate Dean's Citation for Outstanding Dissertation for his research of the late percussion legend, Tito Puente. He is the technology editor for the journal Percussive Notes.