Yoron Israel Named Chair of the Percussion Department

By 
Tori Donahue
January 22, 2020
Press release
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The drummer, composer, bandleader, vibraphonist, percussionist, and author previously served as the department’s interim chair.

Yoron Israel, chair of the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music
Image by Becky Yee

Berklee has named Yoron Israel chair of the Percussion DepartmentIsrael, a drummer, composer, bandleader, vibraphonist, percussionist, and author, previously served as the department’s interim chair, and has held faculty positions at Rutgers University, William Paterson University, and the Mannes School of Music at the New School.

“I have known Yoron Israel for nearly 30 years and have always held him in the highest regard for his integrity, not only as a musical artist but as an educator, mentor, husband, father, and community member,” said Ron Savage, dean of the Professional Performance Division. “We are excited for the Percussion Department and the Berklee community as Yoron assumes his new leadership role.”

Israel has an extensive performance career, working alongside acclaimed artists such as Otis Clay, Shirley Caesar, Kenny Burrell, Sonny Rollins, Abbey Lincoln, Clark Terry, and Joanne Brackeen, among others. As a leader, Israel has recorded five albums: This Moment, Basic Traneing, Live at the Blue Note, A Gift for You, and Visions: The Music of Stevie Wonder. He has released two albums as coleader of the Frank Walton/Yoron Israel Sextet, Live in Chicago and The Back Step. His other projects include the trio New Dreams with pianist Kevin Harris and bassist Will Slater; his quartet High Standards with pianist Laszlo Gardony, saxophonist Lance Bryant, and bassist Henry Lugo; and the group Connection with guitarist Ed Cherry, vibraphonist Bryan Carrott, and bassist Sean Conly.

“As a longtime educator and creator in the arts, it is a tremendous honor to serve as the chair of percussion at Berklee,” said Israel. “I am inspired by my fellow educators here every day, in addition to those who have taken the time to mentor me as a teacher and performer. My goal is to continue the legacies of the educators who helped me grow, and create a path of excellence for the next great generation of percussionists at the college.”

In addition to his role at Berklee, Israel serves as pastor of music and art at Destiny Life Center International in Boston and Randolph, Massachusetts. He is the author of the educational DVD Creative Jazz Improvisation for Drum Set, published by Hal Leonard and Berklee Press. He also served as author of the Berklee Online course Drum Set Fundamentals. Israel received his Bachelor of Music degree from Roosevelt University in 1986, and his Master of Music degree from Rutgers University in 1997. He is currently completing a doctoral degree at Liberty University.

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