“The two world-class artists of Organized Rhythm dazzled a delighted audience. British organist Clive Driskill-Smith and percussionist Joseph Gramley have been working together for nearly twelve years, honing a level of ensemble that is seamless….Driskill-Smith found all the colors of the Gress-Miles organ, showing the heft of [Holsts’s] ‘The Planets’ and the varied sounds of Saint-Saens’ ‘Carnival of the Animals’. If you closed your eyes during the Holst, you would easily believe that the entire percussion section of the symphony orchestra was at work. But don’t close your eyes! The visual aspect of Gramley’s playing is in itself a dance, whether it’s his mallets floating on the marimba keys or himself gliding among a phalanx of over a dozen instruments that filled the chancel.”
-James Gower, The Chattervox AGO newsletter, Hartford, CT, April 2016
“Not only an exciting two-hour musical adventure, but also a startling clear insight for me 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
“Organized Rhythm blew the crowd away with their rendition of Holst’s Planets … this program was incredibly appealing and can serve as a vehicle to pique youngsters’ interest in the organ and classical music – highly recommended!”
-The Diapason 2013
“What a delight.”
-The Saginaw News, Michigan
“Humorous and entertaining … the audience did not have to worry about dozing off during this mid-afternoon performance, thanks to a well-prepared and pleasing performance that appealed to the ears and eyes and sense of humor.”
-The American Organist 2012, review of AGO National Convention
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 where he serves as Professor of Music (Percussion).
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, SC 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. Gramley was on the faculty of the Idyllwild Summer Arts Festival in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 he founded the MPulse Percussion Institute at the University of Michigan. 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.
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’ 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 (US tour), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (US 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.
British organist Clive Driskill-Smith has taken the classical music world by storm, enthralling audiences from Beijing to Boston to Budapest with his extraordinary playing and fearless programming. Critics have praised his “blazing technique and unbelievable virtuosity” (Chiff Chat, American Guild of Organists) and described his performances as “intensely moving and truly breathtaking” (Organo Pleno, Australia). His solo recitals, and duo performances with Grammy Award–winning percussionist Joseph Gramley, bring audiences to their feet across the world.
Mr. Driskill-Smith is the Organist and Choirmaster at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, Texas, a post that he combines with an international concert career. During the last few years, he has performed at the National Cathedral in Washington DC, Melbourne Town Hall, Westminster Abbey, the Grand Philharmonic Hall in Perm (Russia), and the National Performing Arts Center in Taipei. He plays frequently at Festivals – such as the BBC Proms, the East Texas Pipe Organ Festival, and National Conventions of the American Guild of Organists – and he has worked with numerous conductors, including Sir Stephen Cleobury, Klaus Tennstedt, and Sir Colin Davis. His performances have been broadcast on the BBC (UK), NHK (Japan), Pipedreams (USA), and on radio and television throughout the world. His CDs have received critical acclaim, and he has recorded albums with Peter Gabriel on Virgin Records, and with Howard Goodall on EMI Classics.
Mr. Driskill-Smith was educated at Eton College and Oxford University, where he read Music at Christ Church. He graduated in 1999 with a Double First (First Class Honors in both examinations), and with the MPhil (Master of Philosophy) degree in 2001.
During his teens, he played the bassoon in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and he performed piano concertos by Rachmaninov, Mozart, Shostakovich, and Beethoven. He was awarded the ARCM (Associate of the Royal College of Music) diploma in Piano Performance in 1996, and the FRCO (Fellow of the Royal College of Organists) diploma in 1998. He studied the organ with David Sanger and won several international competitions, including the Performer of the Year competition in 2000 and the Calgary International Organ Competition in 2002.
From 2001 to 2018, Mr. Driskill-Smith was the organist at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford, where he worked with Dr. Stephen Darlington, director of the world-famous choir. He was also a Trustee of the Royal College of Organists, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians (one of the ancient Livery Companies which evolved from London’s medieval guilds), and Professor of Organ at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Clive Driskill-Smith is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.