The Many Roles of Gerry Hemingway as Teacher and Performer

A faculty member of Switzerland’s Hochshule Luzern since 2009 following a four year stint at New York’s the New School; percussionist Gerry Hemingway has developed his own ideas about music teaching. At the same time he’s still a working musician, he tells Point of Departure’s Troy Collins. During an extended Q+A, the American drummer points out that many of his decades-old co-op bands still exist such as BassDrumBone with trombonist Ray Anderson, and bassist Mark Helias; the GRH trio with pianist Georg Graewe and cellist Ernst Reijseger; and the more recent one, the WHO trio with pianist Michel Wintsch and bassist Bänz Oester. At the same time, Hemingway, who has been interested in electronic music since the 1970s, is regularly involved in live interaction performances with visual artist Beth Warshafsky using Max/MSP Jitter, as well as recording solos and electro-acoustic programs with the likes of fellow percussionist Vincent Glanzmann. As an instructor though, he feels his job is “to keep the boat of history from sinking into a sea of well-meaning teaching methodologies, which sadly utilize unreferenced details that aren’t crucial to build personal artistic expression.” In essence he wants to nurture students not only formally but also by ear training careful listening, a slow, but meaningful method to get to the essences of music creation.