Joe Gramley

Joe Gramley's Biography

Joseph 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. His commitment to the promotion of inventive new music and broad-public premiere performance is illustrious, year to year. His first solo record, American Deconstruction, an expert rendition of five milestone works in the modern multi-percussion canon, was released in 2000 and reissued in 2006. A second solo record, Global Percussion, was released in 2005. Other works of his include a film performance of the Milhaud Percussion Concerto, released in 2013. Gramley is a tenured music professor and Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where he directs the famed Michigan Percussion Ensemble.

An invitation from Yo-Yo Ma in 2000 led Gramley to join Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. In 2015, Gramley was named Associate Artistic Director of the group. In addition to participating in the group's extended residencies in American cities, Gramley has toured with Ma and the ensemble throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. 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, and Central Asia. He has appeared on several top-selling albums with Ma, including the Grammy Award winning Songs of Joy and Peace. Gramley has also appeared with Ma as guest artists with the Nashville Symphony. Gramley was on the first rotation of the SilkRoad Ensemble Leadership Council, which he chaired.

In addition to his solo and SilkRoad work, as well as his frequent chamber music and orchestra appearances, Gramley performs with the acclaimed British organist Clive Driskill-Smith in their duo, Organized Rhythm. After releasing their first record in 2008, Beaming Music, they appeared across the United States and at two American Guild of Organists conferences. Gramley is the Principal Percussionist and Timpanist of New York City based orchestra, The Knights. After graduate studies, he performed and recorded with the Ethos Percussion Group throughout the United States and Europe.

Gramley has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Orchestre de Lyon, Dawn Upshaw, David Robertson, Spoleto Festival, Martha Graham Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, New York City Ballet, Glen Velez, Keiko Abe, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Kayhan Kalhor, Alim Qasimov, Wu Tong, Sandeep Das, and numerous others.

After winning the National Soloist Competition, Gramley made his solo debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in 1994.

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 continued on to undergraduate work at the University of Michigan, with Michael Udow, and graduate work at Julliard. Since, he has attended the Tanglewood Institute, Salzburg Mozarteum, and in 2000, took up position of director at the Julliard Summer Percussion Seminar.

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