Yousif Sheronick has performed around the globe to critical acclaim, genre hopping with leading artists in the classical, world, jazz and rock music arenas. The New York Times hails Yousif for his “dazzling improvisations” and his “wizardry on a range of humble frame drums”. Of Lebanese descent, Yousif was recently featured in Drum! Magazine highlighting his versatility in an article titled “At The Corner Of The World”. His influences are far reaching as he grew up playing rock and roll drum set, studied classical percussion through a masters degree at Yale University and went on to study music from Brazil, India, Africa and the Middle East. These combined influences propelled Yousif into performances with Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Lark Quartet, Ethos Percussion Group, 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 major force in bringing world percussion into contemporary/classical music, Yousif has had the luxury of working with composers Evan Ziporyn, Derek Bermel, Kenji Bunch, Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin and John Patitucci, all of whom were eager to compose for his exotic instruments. Critics say Yousif “is capable of creating hypnotic atmospheres” (Mundoclasico) where he “transported the listener to another dimension.” (Ritmic).
As a composer and arranger Yousif has contributed several solo and ensemble works resulting in performances of his music around the world. 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. Also in demand as an educator Yousif teaches private lessons and classes at his home in New York and has conducted residencies and master classes at top universities including Manhattan School of Music, University of Michigan, University of Kentucky, the Queensland Conservatorium and National University in Australia. His 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.” He 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).