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Greg Beyer
Northern Illinois University
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Hailed a “fine percussionist” in the New York Times, Greg Beyer specializes in repertoire that places non-western instruments into the context of contemporary musical thought. Second-prize winner of the 2002 Geneva International Music Competition, Beyer has given solo performances and masterclasses throughout the United States, Europe, South America and in China. He has given both the World and American premieres of Heinz Holliger’s, Ma’mounia; performs the works of Iannis Xenakis, Roger Reynolds, James Dillon, Javier Alvarez, Elliot Carter; and actively commissions new works for solo percussion.

Of primary importance to him is his project, O BERIMBAU – an endeavor that involves ethno-musicological research on the berimbau and other related musical bows, and the active composition and commission of new works for this ancient instrument. Beyer has presented this project at the 2001 and 2002 Percussive Arts Society International Conventions, as well as a myriad of conservatories and universities around the world. His multi-media composition for berimbau, Bahian Counterpoint (Homage à Steve Reich), received its world premiere at the Banff Centre for the Arts in November 2002. It uses simultaneous audio and video elements to create an environment for the berimbau that is simultaneously playful, intelligent and idiomatic. Beyer garnered a 2003 ASCAP Standard Award for multiple performances of this work, and in March 2004 the piece was voted among the best of the SEAMUS festival held in San Diego. As a result, an audio version of the work will be published on the SEAMUS label in late 2004. In January 2004, Beyer traveled to Itaparica, Brazil, as an invited Fellow of the Sacatar Foundation, to spend six weeks creating new music for berimbau and furthering the intention and scope of this project. In March 2006, Beyer composed and premiered a new concerto for berimbau, wind ensemble and chorus, entitled, Vou Me Embora. This piece was commissioned by the Freeport, Illinois, School District World Arts Festival.

Beyer is a founding member of the flute/percussion duo, DUE EAST, a group that has performed throughout the United States, Canada, and most recently at the CrossDrumming Festival in Warsaw, Poland. DUE EAST is dedicated to the advancement of virtuosic contemporary music for flute and percussion. Additional activities as a chamber musician include performances and/or recordings with Present Music, CUBE, Fulcrum Point, So Percussion, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Speculum Musicae, NewBand, Sequitur, and the S.E.M. Ensemble.

As a drumset artist/popular percussionist, he has performed and recorded with pop artist David Berkeley giving performances in New York City at venues such as the Bowery Ballroom, the Fez, and the Knitting Factory. He has also led his own small jazz combos, performing in New York at clubs and for high profile events sponsored by Vanity Fair and Wine Enthusiast magazines, and around the US in clubs and summer festivals.

Beyer enjoys teaching an incredible group of students at Northern Illinois University, where he is an Assistant Professor of Percussion in the School of Music.