Ari Hoenig: A Thrill on the Drums

Updated: Nov 13

By Ariel Rose

At first listen, Ari Hoenig’s most popular song on Spotify gives me snowy Sunday morning coffee by the fire vibes. The next song that pops up on shuffle transports me out of my pajamas into a dark New York cocktail lounge where I might brush elbows with a mysterious stranger dressed in black from Europe while I sip on a dirty martini. Being someone who appreciates spontaneity and versatility, I’m thrilled, which isn’t surprising considering “thrilling” is used by writers to describe Hoenig’s drumming style again and again and again. Hoenig’s subtly is just as dynamic as his versatility, and hitting shuffle on his Spotify discography is a journey in and of itself. He’s celebrated for not relegating his drumming to simply keeping tempo, but instead making it the central focus of the music he’s a part of. He’s renowned world-wide, not only for his unique and unconventional approach to drumming, but as a composer and educator as well.


Ari Hoenig was born in 1973 in Philadelphia and was exposed to a wide variety of music from an early age. His father is a conductor and classical singer, and his mother is a violinist and pianist. At only four years old, Hoenig began studying violin and piano. He started playing drums at age 12 and, by age 14, he was already honing his skills with other young jazz musicians playing clubs around Philly. After a brief three year stint at the University of North Texas, he decided he wanted to be closer to New York and transferred to William Paterson College in Northern New Jersey. True to his unconventional form, he dropped out after just one semester and moved to Brooklyn where he continued to explore and hone his craft.


Hoenig’s musical resume is extensive both as a soloist and working with other musicians. He’s currently leading a quintet, a nonet, a trio, co-leads a variety of other projects, teaches, and somehow still finds time to compose. When he isn’t on tour or traveling to teach, he resides in Brooklyn with his wife & two kids.


Ari Hoenig’s show is a part of a new series called Midtown Sessions, where Open Space in collaboration with Rimshot Productions bring world class musicians to beautiful Bend, Oregon. Join New York-based jazz drummer Ari Hoenig at Open Space on Thursday, November 18th, at 7:30 pm for an intimate night of music. Tickets are $48 and include a drink ticket as well as catered appetizers. This event isn’t one to be missed! Click here for tickets.

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