Updates from Alum Brian Heveron-Smith

6 years have passed since Brian Heveron-Smith was on our Show #097 in Iowa City, where he performed the third movement of Concertino for Marimba by Paul Creston. In that time he’s graduated school, played drums on a Caribbean cruise ship, toured the east coast with jazz pianist Solomon Douglas, explored Africa, and more (if you can believe it). Here’s his complete account:

I went to the Eastman School of Music, and graduated in 2008.  I majored in percussion performance and was awarded the performer’s certificate.  After I graduated I spent a year in Rochester, doing as much performing and teaching as I possibly could, while preparing for and taking grad school auditions.  I started getting the opportunity to travel more during this time, one highlight being a Canadian tour with Solomon Douglas, a jazz pianist/swing band leader.

When springtime rolled around I received a few good offers from grad schools to continue school and earn my masters in percussion performance, but the travel bug had already bit me; I decided to take a job playing drums on a cruise ship in the caribbean for 4 months.  Once this ended I came back to Rochester for about two months, and filled my schedule up with performing gigs and recording sessions.

Last November/December, Solomon’s group did a month long east coast tour, going all the way down to Tampa, Florida, and making our way up to Montreal.  Then, this past January, I did probably the craziest thing I will ever do:  I took a 3 and a half month long trip to West Africa all alone, to travel and study drumming traditions of various cultures.  I started out in Senegal, made my way through Mali, Burkina Faso, and finally ended up in Ghana.

I came back home, caught my breath for a couple weeks, then went back on tour with Solomon’s group, and then did the same thing with two indie-rock bands (the Capitalist Youth and Gunsling Birds) immediately after that.  I filled up most of my summer schedule with teaching gigs, and now I am residing in Boston, mostly performing with my three bands.  The Capitalist Youth recently had a song featured on another NPR show, (All Songs Considered), and we’re starting to book a lot more shows because of this publicity. You can listen to our new album here.

Thanks a lot for giving me such a great opportunity!  I owe a lot to From The Top!

Can you say wow!? We look forward to seeing where Brian’s music will take him in the future, and wish him all the best.