Glen Velez is a master drummer, composer and educator. He won three Grammy
awards and is considered one of the most influential percussionists of our time,
as well as being responsible for a world-wide resurgence in the popularity of
the frame drum.
He was born in Texas, of Mexican American ancestry. He moved to New York City
in the late 1960s. Although he began as a jazz drummer, he felt a strong
attraction towards hand drums, specially frame drums.
Glen has also gained international recognition as a solo artist and is also
known for his 15 year recording and performing collaborations with composer
Steve Reich, as well as the Paul Winter Consort.
His teaching and performances inspired the Remo Drum Co. in 1983 to develop a
line of frame drums called the Glen Velez signature Series. The Cooperman Drum
Co. introduced a hand made Signature Series Glen Velez Tambourine and Frame Drum
line in 1999.
In 1989, twentieth century composer, John Cage acknowledged Velez' mastery when
he wrote a piece especially for him, entitled "Composed Improvisation for
One-sided Drum with or without Jingles."
Other collaborations include: Tan Dun, Israel Philharmonia, Brooklyn
Philharmonia, Opera Orchestra of New York, Suzanne Vega,
Hussain, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra of St.
Luke's, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble.
His own compositions have been featured on National Public Radio's All Things
Considered and John Schaefer's New Sounds and have been commissioned by the
Rockefeller Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Reader's Digest. He has written
music for theater and dance and recorded hundreds of albums on ECM, CBS, RCA,
GRP, Warner Brothers, Deutsche Gramophone, Geffen, Nonesuch, Capital, and Sony.
Glen has several instructional videos, 5 instructional books and over a dozen
recordings of his own music on CMP, Music of the World, Sounds True, Interworld,
Ellipsis Arts and DafTof Records. Glen is a master teacher who conducts
workshops worldwide and has published numerous books and articles on the
Velez developed his own teaching approach called ?The Handance Method.? It
incorporates voice and body movement into the process of learning to play the
frame drum and has been presented in hundreds of universities worldwide. He
currently teaches frame drums at the Mannes School of Music, as well as series
of master classes at The Julliard School and Manhattan School of Music.
While Glen draws upon the great drumming traditions of the Middle East, South
India and the Mediterranean world (ancient and modern), he plays in a style all
his own. Utilizing a vast culmination of complex hand and finger techniques, a
symphony of sounds and textures remarkably stream forth from just a single hand
held drum. Glen's solos seem supernatural, a technical rarity that is beyond
comprehension. However, beyond all the jaw-dropping spectacle of Glen's
super-human techniques, is a music that is so deeply emotional, a raw beauty,
that perhaps, within it's core, resides the most universal rhythm of all - the
Glen is also an expert in Central Asian Overtone Singing (split-tone/harmonic
singing). During concerts, he often gives his audiences a spontaneous crash
course in this style, thus resulting into a spirited interactive overtone choir.
Glen Velez regularly performs and records with Trio Globo - featuring Eugene
Friesen and Howard Levy; Coleman Barkes, world renown scholar/translator of the
poetry of Rumi; Glen Velez Ensemble; Duo performances with vocalist/rhythm
singer Lori Cotler - songs from their new recording are available on iTunes.
Official Web Site: www.glenvelez.com