Guerguerian, Paul "River"

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River Guerguerian


Born: 1967

Country: Born Canada; Lives in Asheville, NC

Studies: Manhattan School of Music Conservatory ‘85-‘89--Bachelor of Music

Teachers: Fred D. Hinger, Nils Vigeland, Justin DiCioccio


River Guerguerian has been inspiring audiences with his ecstatic and versatile percussion for over 30 years. Whether playing with world-class symphonies or studio musicians, partnering with Grammy-award winning composers, or creating dynamic plays of rhythm for his own projects, River’s passion and attention to the vibrant life of the drum reverberates throughout the crowd.

Born in Canada of Armenian-Egyptian extraction, River’s successful and prolific career started at an early age. In 1989, he received his Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music Conservatory and graduated with the school’s award for Most Outstanding Percussionist. In 1988, he began creating works with Grammy and Oscar-winning composer, Tan Dun. Over the next several years he continued to tour with other artists performing in concert halls in Tokyo, Moscow, Rome, Berlin, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Jerusalem, Athens, Istanbul, London, including such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, and Lincoln Center.

In 1994, River sold all his possessions, left civilization for five years, and lived in a wildlife sanctuary in the Himalayas. An immersion in nature initiated intense research and experimentation into the physiological effect of sound on brainwave states. River continued his investigations into trance-inducing instrumentation as he traveled to different cultures learning unique methods and techniques. Drawing on this diverse background, River plays all genres of music pulling original sound from Frame Drums, Middle Eastern and Afro-Cuban percussion, Drumset, Marimba, Tabla, Kanjira, Cajon, Gongs, Singing Bowls, Loopers, and various found objects. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by chamber ensembles, universities, modern dance companies, and new music festivals. As a studio musician, he has recorded on over 150 albums and film soundtracks, including the John Cage documentary film, “I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It”. He has performed and/or recorded with such groups as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, New Music Consort, Tibetan Singing Bowl Ensemble, Paul Winter Consort, Talujon Percussion Ensemble, Chuck Berry, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Ziggy Marley/Gipsy Kings. He also records percussion tracks for artists at his own recording studio.

A respected music educator, River is Music Director for Odyssey Community School’s Creative Technology & Arts Center. He conducts “rhythm and sound exploration” workshops, and enjoys teaching privately.

Since 1999, River has been living in the mountains of Asheville, NC with his wife and three daughters. He travels internationally with Turkish master musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek. You can also hear his lyrical style as a soloist with The River Guerguerian Project, his world jazz trio Free Planet Radio, and the global Americana group The Billy Sea.[1]

Works for Percussion

Amongst & Throughout - Marimba; Violin; Bass
Ancient Technology - Multiple Percussion; Didjeridu; Voice; Dotar
Barbecue in Istanbul - Multiple Percussion; Bass Clarinet
Barbecue in Istanbul (Rev.) - Multiple Percussion; Bass; Piano
Boulevard - Percussion Ensemble; Bass
Breathe (Guerguerian) - Multiple Percussion
Bride of the Sister - Percussion Quartet; String Basses (4)
D.T. Lives - Percussion Duo; Flute; Electronics
Deepen - Multiple Percussion: Tibetan Bowls, Gongs; Cello, Bass, Guitar, Water
Dream in Paradise - Multiple Percussion; Dance
Duet (Guerguerian) - Marimba; Violin
Emerge & See - Multiple Percussion; Clarinet; Guitar; Cello, Bass; Piano
Fifteen for Michael - Multiple Percussion
Frame/Soar - Multiple Percussion; Flute
Gong Lab - Percussion Ensemble; Electric Guitar
Holly’s Groove (Solo) - Multiple Percussion:Cajon
Holly’s Groove (Ensemble) - Percussion Ensemble
Immerse - Multiple Percussion: Tibetan Bowls, Gongs; Cello, Bass, Guitar, Water
Jabberwocky - Multiple Percussion; Voice
Jo Ha Kyu - Multiple Percussion; Dance
Liquid Love - Multiple Percussion - Frame Drum
Lullaby for the Mountain - Multiple Percussion - Gongs, Singing Bowls; Voice
Moonlight - Percussion Duo - Frame Drums; Flute (2)
Mother’s Trance - Percussion Ensemble; Sarod; Flute
Odd Reflection - Multiple Percussion
On Us - Multiple Percussion; Baritone Saxophone
Overture Six - Multiple Percussion; Bass; Piano; Voice
Quite a Quiet Quandering - Multiple Percussion; Electronics
Release (Guerguerian) - Multiple Percussion: Tibetan Bowls, Gongs; Cello, Bass, Guitar, Water
S/He Loves Me, S/He Loves Me Not - Multiple Percussion; Dance
Samsara - Multiple Percussion; Dance
Seathrew - Percussion Quartet
Seven Tambourines - Multiple Percussion; Didjeridu
Seventeen Eights - Percussion Ensemble
She Walked In - Multiple Percussion; Violin; Piano
Sircomestandstill - Multiple Percussion
Skin - Multiple Percussion; Dance
So She Shines - Percussion Quartet
Stop & Go Kathmandu - Multiple Percussion; Dance
Symphonie Op. 21 (Webern) - Percussion Quartet
Still They Are - Multiple Percussion; Clarinet
Tem For You - Percussion Ensemble; Dotar; Piano
The Courting - Multiple Percussion: Water Percussion; Native American Fluet
The Mound - Multiple Percussion; Dance
The Pink - Multiple Percussion; Dance
Twenty Three Beats - Percussion Ensemble


  1. River Guerguerian Bio Retrieved 06/09/2012