Hailed by the New York Times for his “dazzling improvisations” and his “wizardry on a range of humble frame drums” Yousif Sheronick enjoys an active career as percussionist, composer, producer and educator. Having studied classical percussion through a Masters degree at Yale, Yousif went on to study music from Brazil, India, Africa and the Middle East which he seamlessly incorporates into his playing. Yousif’s unique skills in both World and Classical music have led him to perform with a diverse range of ensembles and musicians including Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Laurie Anderson, Ethos Percussion Group, Lark Quartet, Silk Road Ensemble, Branford Marsalis, Sonny Fortune, Cindy Blackman Santana, Glen Velez and Paul Winter. His many musical influences are highlighted in duoJalal, his venture with violist and wife Kathryn Lockwood. A feature article in Drum! Magazine highlighted Yousif’s versatility in an article titled “At The Corner Of The World”.
Always wanting to build bridges through music, Yousif has become a major force in bringing world percussion into contemporary/classical music. He has had the luxury of in-depth work with composers Evan Ziporyn, Derek Bermel, Kenji Bunch, Ljova and John Patitucci, all of whom were eager to compose for his exotic instruments. As a composer himself, Yousif’s compositions have been premiered and performed around the world at both the collegiate and professional level. All released under his own publishing company Bribie Recordings. He has arranged several parts for his collaboration with the Lark Quartet including John Adams’ Book of Alleged Dances which was released on Bridge Records. Producing credits include a solo CD and two instructional DVDs. “A testimony to his genius” raves Modern Drummer Magazine about Yousif’s CD Silk Thread, and Rhythm Magazine (UK) says Yousif’s Riq Instructional DVD “is a must to uncover the mysteries of this ancient instrument.”
In demand as an educator, Yousif has conducted residencies and master classes at top universities including Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, University of Michigan, University of Kentucky, the Queensland Conservatorium and National University in Australia. A whirlwind trip to Taiwan was filled with 10 solo workshops in 4 cities in 5 days. With increasing demand from drummers around the world, Yousif established his online frame drum school www.framedrumschool.org. Within a few months he had students from 20 countries studying with him online.
Yousif has appeared throughout North and South America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Australia with festival appearances including the JVC and Newport Jazz Festivals, Jazztel (Madrid), Renaissance Festival (Rethymno, Greece) Early Music Festival (Regensburg, Germany) and Jerusalem Festival (Palestine). Prestigious venue performances include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, Royal Festival Hall (London) and Wigmore Hall (London). He has performed live on NPR’s “Performance Today” and John Schaffer’s “New Sounds.” Yousif holds degrees from Yale University and the University of Iowa.
Yousif gratefully endorses products from Cooperman Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Innovative Mallets and Pearl/Adams.
Of Lebanese decent, Mr. Sheronick was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, IA. His first exposure to Arab music came from his mother singing over the drone of the vacuum cleaner. As with many first generation Americans there was a separation between the house (Arab) and the outside (American) world.
Yousif grew up on the “outside” playing with his neighbors’ rock band and the local drum corp. His high school band director and student teacher (who happened to be a percussionist) convinced him to audition for the University of Iowa. The audition resulted in a full scholarship to UI where he studied with Tom Davis. In his four years at Iowa Yousif concentrated on contemporary music and jazz. He went on to get his masters at Yale University where he studied with Gordon Gottlieb. Mr. Gottlieb had a unique teaching method of combining Western and Eastern musical practices. Through Mr. Gottlieb, Yousif was introduced to instruments from around the world he never knew existed.
In 1990 Yousif traveled to musically rich Brazil. This was an enlightening trip for Yousif and at that point he moved his focus towards world music. After moving to New York in 1991 Yousif connected with master frame drummer Glen Velez. For the past twenty-three years Yousif has been a member of Glen Velez and Handance. Glen’s music and playing techniques have been a major influence to Yousif’s work.
At present, Yousif is actively promoting the amalgamation of “World Music” and chamber music. This has come through work with ensembles and composers such as Philip Glass, duoJalal, Lark Quartet, and Ethos Percussion Group (who has commissioned composers from Palestine, India, Israel, Korea, Argentina, and Italy).