Graduating to the beat of the drum: ASU grad student performs recital

Edouard Beyens to hold a concert on Monday at Katzin Concert Hall

Honing his musical skills since the age of 4, percussionist and ASU grad student Edouard Beyens is performing a percussion concert this upcoming Monday at Katzin Concert Hall as a part of the Graduate Recital Series.

Beyens' musical endeavors began when his parents introduced him to the violin, he said, but it wasn’t until he was 8 years old that he started percussion.

Beyens' talents as a percussionist extend to a variety of genres. 

"I am a percussionist, which means that I am expected to be able to play orchestral percussion, Latin percussion as well as drum set," he said.

Beyens’ passion for percussion stuck with him all the way throughout college. In 2015, Beyens graduated with a degree in percussion performance from ASU. This prompted him to seek out a Master's degree.

“I am currently pursuing my Master's degree in percussion performance, which I am expecting to finish in May,” Beyens said.

ASU’s music program has been a key factor in advancing Beyens’ musical education and career. He said his experience with the program and faculty members has really aided his talents.

“I have had a great experience with the ASU music program,” Beyens said. “The biggest highlights have been playing major works with the symphony orchestra, as well as working so closely with the amazing faculty.”

Aside from being a grad student, Beyens currently works as a front ensemble instructor for the Mountain Ridge High School marching band and is a freelance orchestral musician for The Phoenix Symphony.

Excited to play some Gershwin with the Phoenix Symphony this weekend!

A photo posted by Edouard Beyens (@ebeyens) on

Two professors who have played a vital role in adding to his performance percussion education have been J.B. Smith and Shaun Tilburg.

Shaun Tilburg, The Phoenix Symphony principal percussionist and ASU adjunct professor of percussion, instructed Beyens, but he will also be preforming alongside him during his graduate performance.

Aside from a duet with Tilburg, Beyens’ recital will be composed of many different genres of music.

“This recital will have a wide variety of musical styles including Ragtime, Baroque and Contemporary,” Beyens said. “It will also include a world premier of Shaun Tilburg’s new multi-percussion duet, which he will be performing with me.”

Tilburg, who had Beyens in his Orchestral Repertoire course, has also taught him privately. Beyens' upcoming performance at Katzin Hall will be comprised of a variety of work that will combine both classical and contemporary music making it a very unique recital, Tilburg said.

“Each selection will be drastically different from the last,” Tilburg said. “He will run the gambit from very early Baroque lute music played on marimba, to a very loud and rambunctious snare drum duet written only months ago featuring Radiohead-inspired electro tape accompaniment, and finally finishing with some precursory music to jazz.”

Smith Ph.D, a professor of music and percussion area coordinator at ASU, teaches, composes and actively conducts music. He is currently the director of the ASU Contemporary Percussion Ensemble and has had the opportunity to teach Beyens since he was a teenager.

“I have been working with doctor Smith since I was 16 years old, and he has taught me everything that I know about keyboard playing,” Beyens said. “Since I have been his student, he has constantly pushed me to perform difficult repertoire, which has greatly advanced my playing.”

Smith, who Beyens has been taking lessons from for seven years now, said Beyens is one of the many talented musicians the School of Music boasts.

"Ed is a gifted musician with natural abilities and a strong work ethic," Smith said. "He is able to adapt to many musical situations. With his diverse program there will be something for everyone. 

"I hope more ASU students take advantage of what the School of Music has to offer. Future musical stars, like Ed, offer free recitals and concerts almost every day. "

Beyens’ graduate recital will be happening on Monday, Nov. 7 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Katzin Concert Hall and will be free for both students and to the public.

Reach the reporter at or follow @marcellabaietto on Twitter.

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