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, Texas. 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 winner Joseph Gramley performs around the world as a founding member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Ensemble, performs with English organist Clive Driskill-Smith in the duo, Organized Rhythm, is principal timpanist and percussionist with The Knights, and is widely heard and seen in his dynamic solo percussion concerts. Gramley joined the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in August of 2019.
Gramley's dynamic and exciting performances as a soloist have garnered critical acclaim and enthusiasm from emerging composers, percussion aficionados and first-time concert-goers alike. He is committed to bringing fresh and inventive compositions to a broad public, and each year he commissions and premieres a number of new works. His first solo recording, American Deconstruction, is an expert rendition of five milestone works in multi-percussion's huge new modern repertoire. His second solo recording, Global Percussion, continues his exploration of important works for the idiom and includes two new commissions and the first release of Philip Glass’s 1 + 1. An invitation from Yo-Yo Ma in 2000 led Gramley to join Mr. Ma's Silkroad Ensemble. In addition to participating in the group's extended residencies in cities and at universities around the globe, Gramley has toured with Mr. Ma and the Ensemble throughout North America, Europe, Central Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and Asia, performing in the world's finest concert halls. Along the way, Gramley has studied percussion styles and instruments from around the globe, collaborating with internationally renowned musicians from India, Iran, China, Japan, Korea, Spain, and Central Asia. He has also appeared on eight top-selling albums with Yo-Yo Ma on multiple labels. Gramley served as Associate Artistic Director of the Silkroad Ensemble from 2014–2017. During Gramley’s tenure, the Ensemble won the 2017 GRAMMY award for ‘best world music’ album, was nominated for ‘Best Music Film’ and recorded the music for Ken Burns’ documentary, ‘Vietnam’ for PBS.
In addition to his solo and Silkroad work, as well as his frequent appearances with chamber groups and orchestras, Gramley performs with the acclaimed British organist Clive Driskill-Smith in the duo Organized Rhythm. The pair's first recording, Beaming Music, was issued in 2007. They’ve steadily commissioned new works and released videos since that time. Gramley joined The Knights in 2009 and has recorded and performed with them throughout the U.S. and Europe. Joseph Gramley has performed with: the Metropolitan Opera (on stage with Placido Domingo), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (U.S. tour), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (U.S. and international tours), Orchestra of St. Luke's, Chicago Symphony Orchestra (soloist), Seattle Symphony, Orchestre de Lyon, Dawn Upshaw (US and international tours), David Robertson (Carnegie Hall), Spoleto Festival (soloist), Martha Graham Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Group (US and international tours), New York City Ballet, Glen Velez (US tour), Keiko Abe (PASIC), Aretha Franklin, Elton John, and numerous others.
Born in 1970, Gramley grew up in Oregon and was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts while a senior at the Interlochen Arts Academy in 1988. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Michigan and attended the Tanglewood Institute and Salzburg Mozarteum during college. He also won a job with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra at age eighteen and spent three summers with them at both Spoleto Festivals: Charleston, South Carolina, and Spoleto, Italy. Gramley later returned for three more summers at Spoleto Charleston as a guest artist, recitalist, and collaborator. It was there that he premiered Bright Sheng's 'Silver River' with Wu Man. Gramley spent fifteen summers at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. His first summer, in 1993, he played the Bartok Sonata with Andras Schiff and Bruno Canino and premiered David Horne's 'Phantom Moon'. Gramley made his concerto debut with the Houston Symphony Orchestra after winning their National Soloist Competition, and made his solo debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in 1994. Gramley did his graduate studies at the Juilliard School in New York, receiving his master’s degree in 1995 and received the Saul Goodman and Khomanoff Scholarships. He made his conducting debut with the Juilliard Percussion Ensemble while a graduate student. He was director or the Juilliard Summer Percussion Seminar for seventeen years, from 1999-2016 and was Chair Daniel Druckman's Juilliard Percussion Department assistant for five years, 2000–2005. He is grateful to have studied with amazing mentors and artists, among them: Michael Udow, Salvatore Rabbio, Daniel Druckman, Gordon Gottlieb, John Wyre, Julie Spencer, Keiko Abe, Glen Velez, John Alfieri, Erik Forrester, and Alan Abel.
Organized Rhythm is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.
E-mail: [email protected]
PO Box 432, Dearborn Heights, MI 48127