Graeme Francis

Dr. Francis is a versatile clinician with over fifteen years of experience teaching at colleges and universities. His extensive knowledge of solo, chamber, orchestral percussion, and jazz drum set education reflect his robust performance career in these areas.

Between 2016-2022, he was Adjunct Professor of Percussion at The College of St. Rose (Albany, NY), Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY) where he taught percussion and drum set lessons, and directed the Percussion Ensemble. Dr. Francis served as Percussion Lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio from 2006 to 2016, where he has also taught Rock and Roll History, Jazz History, and was the founding member, drummer, and director of the UTSA Faculty Jazz Combo, which has performed with a wide variety of local and national jazz figures. Dr. Francis was nominated for UTSA’s 2016 President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching.

A versatile performer, Mr. Francis’s orchestral work includes dates with the San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Opera, Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio, Victoria Bach Festival Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Austin, Mid-Texas Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Prince Edward Island Symphony, Rome Festival Orchestra, Albany Symphony, and Albany Pro Musica, in addition to a multitude of chamber ensembles such as the American Repertory Ensemble, Revel, SOLI Chamber Ensemble, and Line Upon Line. He has been featured on drum set with such jazz luminaries as Ed Smith, Bill Watrous, Ray Vega, Doc Watkins, Scott Robinson, Eric Alexander, Jerry Weldon, Joe Magnarelli, John Fedchock, and Chuck Lamb. Dr. Francis has performed both in Canada and the United States as one half of the Schumann-Francis piano/percussion duo, whose live performances from the Victoria Bach Festival have been broadcast nationally on American Public Media’s Performance Today. The Austin Critic’s Table named the Schumann-Francis Duo one of the Top Ten Classical Musical Treasures of 2011.

Mr. Francis is also a highly sought after session musician, having recorded a number of records for Austin, TX recording studios including Star Seven Media, Congress House Studio, Church House Studio, Infinity Studios, 12th Street Sound, and Blue Rock Studios, in addition to major recordings for the Gasparo, Parma, Navona, and Naxos labels. His latest release, the debut recording from the Hartwick Jazz Trio (featuring Evan Jagels and John Colonna) is now available on all platforms, as is his record with the Doc Watkins Trio, Swingin’ From San Antonio.

Dr. Francis worked with the Austin Chamber Music Center (ACMC) faculty from 2006 to 2018, coaching chamber groups and percussion classes at ACMC’s annual summer Chamber Music Workshop as well as performing during their concert season and summer Chamber Music Festival. He has also worked as the Music Director and percussionist for The American Repertory Ensemble (ARE). Over a dozen of his solo performances with ARE and ACMC have been nominated for Outstanding Solo Instrumental and Chamber Music Performance by the Austin Critics’ Table.

A dedicated academic, Dr. Francis’ research has focused primarily on the appropriation of instruments from the Ottoman Classical music tradition by Western European powers. The goal of this research is to show specific musical links between these two cultures in an attempt to understand the origins of Western European percussion history more fully. He was also an active member of the Scholarly Research Committee of the Percussive Arts Society as it established its Thesis and Dissertation Repository, a powerful tool for percussion research.

A native of Prince Edward Island, Canada, Graeme Francis received an Undergraduate degree in Honors Music Education from the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario, a Masters in Percussion Performance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas at Austin. His percussion teachers include Jill Ball, Thomas Burritt, Doug Howard, Kalman Cherry, Ed Smith, Tony Edwards, Brannen Temple, Daniel Glass, and Carl Allen.

Dr. Francis proudly endorses Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Zildjian Cymbals, Yamaha Percussion instruments, Remo Drumheads.

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