Yoron Israel

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Yoron Israel is a drummer, percussionist, composer, band leader, and educator. He is the chair and a professor in the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music. He has performed or recorded with such notable artists as Otis Clay, Shirley Caesar, Kenny Burrell, Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, Abbey Lincoln, Ahmad Jamal, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Clark Terry, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutchinson, and many more.

As a leader, Israel has recorded five albums—Basic Traneing, Chicago, Live at the Blue Note, A Gift for You, and Visions: The Music of Stevie Wonder. Basic Traneing reached no. 3 on the nationaljazz charts in 2004. His projects include the trio Organic with organist Kyle Koehler and guitarist Ed Cherry; his quintet Connection with Cherry, vibraphonist Bryan Carrott, and bassist Sean Conly; and the Boston band High Standards. He tours regularly with saxophonist Marco Pignataro and vibraphonist Jay Hoggard, in addition to performing and recording in the New England area with artists such as Abraham Laboriel, Eddie Gomez, Frank Morgan, Joanne Brackeen, Eliane Elias, and Larry Goldings.

Israel's influences include jazz, world, gospel, contemporary Christian, funk, R&B, and orchestral music. He received a bachelor's degree in music from Roosevelt University in 1986 and a master's degree in music from Rutgers University in 1997. He has been recognized in publications such as Jazz.com, Variety, Jazz Improv Magazine, Down Beat, Jazz Times, Modern Drummer, Stick It, and Percussive Notes. Israel is the author of the educational DVD Creative Jazz Improvisation for Drum Set. He was formerly on the faculty at Rutgers University, William Paterson University, and Mannes New School, and continues to teach privately and conduct clinics, workshops, residencies, and music camps throughout the world.

Career Highlights
  • Drummer, percussionist, vibraphonist, educator, composer, and author
  • Bandleader of the groups High Standards, Connection, and Organic
  • Performs internationally with Jay Hoggard, Avery Sharpe, and Laszlo Gardony
  • Performed extensively and recorded more than 200 recordings with such renowned artists as Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Ahmad Jamal, Abbey Lincoln, Art Farmer, Tony Bennett, and Kenny Burrell
  • Recordings as a leader include Here Today, Visions, Basic Traneing, Chicago, Live at the Blue Note, and A Gift for You
  • Reviewed in publications such as Modern DrummerDown Beat, Jazz Times, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe
  • Former faculty member at Rutgers University, William Patterson University, and the Mannes New School
  • Teaches drum set, general percussion, vibraphone, ensembles, jazz history, and theory
  • Owner and president of the music publishing and production company Ronja Music
  • B.M., Roosevelt University
  • M.M., Rutgers University
In Their Own Words

"Drummers don't play an instrument where we're consistently called upon to play pyrotechnics and get paid for it. We have to blend with other musicians around us and make them feel good. So one of the things I emphasize in my teaching is sound and touch, which is very subtle and somewhat of a lost art in a lot of ways. But it's so important in the real world because you have to be able to play any given room, whether it's a tiny club or a festival amphitheatre. And your touch and your sound has everything to do with your ability to blend with others."

"I am a student myself of the music and of this instrument I play. I'm sure that will never change as long as I live. What I get from day to day in working with students actually teaches and inspires me in terms of my own personal evolution and development."

"Through the years, I've really been blessed to have so many dedicated and outstanding music educators, as well as those who were educators/performers, and even some who were strictly performers, but who I learned from. My involvement here at Berklee is an act of continuing those legacies."

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