Organized Rhythm

March 3, 2020


Organized Rhythm 
Clive Driskill-Smith, Organist 
Joseph Gramley, Percussionist

Since the fall of 2004, concert audiences across the United States have been brought to their feet by a pairing of musical personalities as improbable and winning as Organized Rhythm’s combination of the pipe organ and percussion.  British organist Clive Driskill-Smith, trained at Eton and Oxford, whose solo performances in England and America have earned him recognition as one of his generation’s star organists, is wry and reserved—until he lets loose an astonishing battery of effects at the keyboard. He’s complemented in Organized Rhythm by the athletic movement of Joseph Gramley, a physically towering Oregon native whose own crowd-pleasing solo concerts and work with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble have made him one of the leading multi-percussionists performing today. This powerful and harmonious duo presents what has been described as “…an exciting two-hour musical adventure, [offering] startling clear insight into what makes a live performance good, and why good live performances are important for us...passion, technical mastery, and precision...two young musicians doing what they clearly love--making music, not just for themselves, but for us as well" (The Granite State News, Wolfeboro NH).

Trumpet and organ: it’s been done before. Flute and organ: it’s been done before. But the “mini-orchestra” pairing of organ and percussion remains a rarity, making Organized Rhythm the only full-time, or at least fully-active, duo of its kind anywhere in the world. The Organized Rhythm duo takes every opportunity to deeply explore the lyrical and powerful tonal aspects of thunderous and dulcet wood and metal organ pipes married to the visceral, arresting, and delicate aspects of a wide array of percussion instruments from around the world through a collection of new works as well as transcriptions of recognizable classical compositions. Their repertoire spans from the music of J.S. Bach and Camille Saint-Saëns to that of Aaron Copland and celebrated and innovative 21st-century composer Nico Muhly, with the duo’s adaptation of Gustav Holst’s The Planets being their signature, and most frequently requested, performance piece. Listeners to the duo’s first CD recording, Beaming Music, will hear cymbals and drums breaking through the full organ’s sound as satisfyingly as any trumpet, and the duo has found balances in which even the soft bars of the marimba meld seamlessly with the organ’s softest registers. The creative ease that exists between the two – developed not only during travel and concerts, but while finding and shaping repertoire – is instantly evident to anyone watching them rehearse, perform, and now record. The duo’s March/April tour in the U.S. took them to Sarasota, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, and Eureka, CA and a July 2017 concert invitation took them to Taipei to perform at the National Performing Arts Center.

Clive Driskill-Smith is one of the leading organists of his generation. Hailed as a "star of a new generation" (Evening Standard, London), critics have praised his “blazing technique” and “unbelievable virtuosity” (American Guild of Organists) and described his performances as "intensely moving" and "truly breathtaking" (Organo Pleno, Melbourne). In September 2018, Mr. Driskill-Smith moved to the United States and assumed the position of Organist/Choirmaster at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, TX. Prior to his work at All Saints’ Church, he was Professor of Organ at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Organist at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, organ scholar at Winchester Cathedral, and assistant organist at Winchester College. His teachers include David Sanger, Hans Fagius, Guy Bovet, and Marie-Claire Alain, among others. Mr. Driskill-Smith was the 2000 Winner of the Royal College of Organists' Performer of the Year Competition and the Calgary International Organ Competition in 2002. Following his Calgary win, the Calgary Herald praised Mr. Driskill-Smith for the “sheer colour and finesse in every facet of organ playing [and] his mastery of the mechanics of the instrument…elegant and suave in everything”. He regularly performs throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. In the UK he has played at the BBC Proms, the Royal Festival Hall London, Symphony Hall Birmingham, and Bridgewater Hall Manchester. In the United States, he’s performed numerous solo recital tours and has been featured at regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists. His most recently-released CD recording on the Herald label, Fiat Lux, received critical acclaim: “the technique is brilliant, the interpretation flawless…a first class recording” (The Organ, Great Britain).

Grammy award-winning, multi-percussionist Joseph Gramley has performed and taught internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, concert host, and with major symphony orchestras. Gramley performs around the world with English organist Clive Driskill-Smith in the duo, Organized Rhythm. He is a founding member of the Silkroad Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, playing with the group since the first gathering in 2000. Gramley has released eight albums with the Silkroad Ensemble and served as Silkroad's first Associate Artistic Director, working alongside founder, Yo-Yo Ma. In August 2019, Gramley began his post as professor of music at Indiana University, after twelve years of leading the percussion program at the University of Michigan. His versatility as a percussionist has found him performing with a broad cross-section of artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Elton John, Michael Stern, Renee Fleming, Aretha Franklin, Mark Morris Dance Group, Glen Velez, and Keiko Abe. Gramley’s cross-genre collaborations have allowed him to take part in over a hundred new commissions from the leading composers of our time. 

Born in 1970, Gramley grew up in Oregon and was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in 1988. He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and his master’s degree from Juilliard, where he has directed their Summer Percussion Seminar for seventeen years. 

Organized Rhythm is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC 
E-mail:  [email protected] 
Phone: 860/560-7800 
PO Box 432, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127