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Five Question Friday: Braham Dembar (Ball State University)

Feb 12, 2020, 13:20 PM by Rhythm Scene Staff

Braham DembarBraham Dembar is in his 12th season as principal percussionist for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and sixth year as Assistant Professor of Music Performance (Percussion) at Ball State University. He has performed with several other orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Boston Symphony, and Boston Pops. Prior to his appointment with the ISO, Braham served as principal percussionist for the Ft. Wayne Philharmonic. He received percussion performance degrees from the New England Conservatory (MM) and Boston University (BM) and previously served in similar teaching positions at Marian University and IPFW.

Rhythm! Scene: If you weren't a university percussion professor, what career could you see yourself having pursued?

Braham Dembar: I wanted to be a surgeon when I was young and would probably have pursued medicine if I had not become a musician. I have always been interested in science and math, astronomy, computer languages, art, and literature.

R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town (other than your school of music or music department) that you are proud to tell people about?

BD: Indianapolis has one of the best orchestras in the country, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and is home to the Percussive Arts Society, which is an amazing organization of which I am proud to be a member.

R!S: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

BD: I am an amateur computer coder, and I developed a custom app that I use to track my teaching. I am fascinated by how things work, so I like to tinker. 

R!S: What is your all-time favorite album and why?

BD: One of my all-time favorite albums was Spectrum by Billy Cobham. I used to listen to it every day for years. Cobham had an intense sound and feel. It just always felt good to listen to. 

R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?

BD: I grew up in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. This was only about an hour train ride from New York City, so we used to see the New York Philharmonic every weekend when I was very young; I loved it. Leonard Bernstein conducted, and it was always so much fun. He really knew how to talk to kids. When I later got to work with him as a student at Tanglewood, it brought back all of those childhood memories.

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