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Asheville Percussion Festival

The first annual Asheville Percussion Festival will take place June 8th-10th, 2012 at the Creative Technology and Arts Center – Odyssey School in Asheville, NC. The theme is ‘Tradition to Innovation’. The festival will be hosted by Asheville’s ambassador to rhythm River Guerguerian. There will be workshops with Master teachers such as Jamey Haddad (Paul Simons percussionist), David Cossin (who tours with STING) and many other local and regional teachers. They will be covering topics such as performing, improvising and composing. There will be a concert with the Master Teachers for the community on Saturday June 9th at 8pm.

The mission of the Asheville Percussion Festival is to provide a creative environment where percussionists of all traditions gather to explore, create and innovate. World-class percussionists will exchange ideas about performing, improvising and educating. Over the course of the weekend there will be workshops for drummers of all levels and concerts for the community.


Jamey Haddad is highly regarded as one of the foremost world and jazz percussionists in the US. For the past nine years Haddad has performed as Paul Simon’s percussionist and played with countless others including Yo Yo Ma and Esperanza Spalding. He teaches at Berklee College of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory.

David Cossin can play just about any percussion instrument. A leading specialist and composer in new and experimental music, he preformed this last year with STING on his world tour and currently plays with Steve Reich and Bang on a Can All-Stars.

River Guerguerian is the Artistic Director of the Festival and is known all over the globe for his unique hybrid set-ups that include frame drums, hand drums and drumsets that can be applied to many styles of music. He plays with Omar Faruk Tekbilek, his world jazz trio Free Planet Radio and is an active touring, recording and teaching artist.

Raquy Danziger is one of the most popular performers, teachers and composers of Middle Eastern Drumming today. Her band Raquy and the Cavemen, a duo with Liron Peled, tours all over the world. She now lives in Istanbul and New York.

Rohan Krishnamurthy has been acclaimed as a “percussion prodigy” will teach and demonstrate Indian classical percussion. He plays Tabla, Mridangam, and Kanjira, and teaches at the Eastman School of Music.

Jeff Sipe AKA “The Apartment Q-258” has an amazing touch and feel on the drumset. He is well known on the touring circuit and has performed with Trey Anastasio, Bela Fleck, Steve Vai, John Medeski, Joan Osborn and his own group the Aquarium Rescue Unit.

Adama Dembele is a master 33rd generation Djembe player from Ivory Coast, Africa. He has traveled internationally and leads his own group Zansa, and is a frequent guest with afro-surf-rock outfit Toubab Krewe.

Michael Lipsey is an incredible educator and plays everything from Afro-Cuban percussion to Balinese Gamelan. He is the Director of the Percussion program and the New Music Ensemble at the Aaron Copland School of Music as well as the City University of New York.

Matthew Richmond is an accomplished Jazz Vibraphonist and is well known in the WNC community. He is currently a member of the Asheville Symphony, Stephanie’s Id, and is a Percussion instructor at UNC-Asheville.

Rohan Krishnamurthy is a leading, young musical ambassador of Indian music and percussion. A specialist in South Indian percussion, Rohan has performed in hundreds of concerts, presented Indian percussion summer camps, workshops, and academic lecture-/ at eminent institutions Rohan founded and directs an Indian percussion ensemble at the Eastman School of Music. Rohan will offer lessons in Indian drumming and vocal percussion techniques.


There will be workshops for beginners and advanced players that will focus on the following styles:

Middle Eastern, West African, Indian, Drumset, Jazz Vibes, South American, Performance Techniques, Improvising, Composing, Electronics, Microphone Techniques, Multiple hand drum set-ups, Hybrid set-ups.

Friday 3-6pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 11am-5pm

Instruments Frame Drums, Riq Tambourine, Kanjira, Doumbek, Djembe, Talking Drum, Ashiko, Conga, Gongs, Pandeiro, Cajon, Drumset, Tabla, Mridangam, Singing Bowls, Shakers, Vibes

*Bring you own drums, but some will be available (please RSVP if you need one)


The Friday night concert on June 8th begins at 8pm and will includes performances from the teachers and local talent from Brazilian and African troupes, as well as Jazz and Middle Eastern music.

The Saturday night concert on June 9th begins at 8pm and will feature a ‘Masters Concert’ with the collaborative efforts from all the teachers. They will create new and innovative percussion pieces through an Artist Retreat that will take place the week before.

Asheville will become a creative hub for innovative and traditional percussion music by inviting international artists for outstanding collaborations. There will be opportunities for participants to jam with each other and the teachers.

Visit www.ashevillepercussionfestival.com for more details, registration, and latest workshop and concert schedule.