Published: 26 June 2018

From rock to doc: drum legend moves into academia

Renowned drummer and co-founder of progressive rock band Yes, Dr Bill Bruford is also an alumnus of the University having gained his PhD in Music in 2016 after retiring from public performance in 2009.

Bill Bruford 1974
Bill Bruford, 1974 - Credit Peter Hodgson

Never one to rest on his laurels, Bill has recently published a new book with the University of Michigan Press, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, which analyses the creative processes of drumming, using his own – and other famous musicians’ - expertise and insights.

"A key motivation in my working life as a drummer was trying to contribute, to suggest ways that we might go about doing things differently. In a way, my PhD continued with that,” said Bill.

“It’s been a privilege to be able to put down the sticks, step back and examine drummers’ motivations, intentions and behaviours from a calmer perspective.”

In his previous life as a performer, Bill collaborated with artists as diverse as Yes, the World Drummers Ensemble, King Crimson, the New Percussion Group of Amsterdam, Ralph Towner, Django Bates, Tim Garland, the Buddy Rich Orchestra and the late Allan Holdsworth. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Yes in 2017.

Bill is now an academic author, writing journal articles, book chapters and books, in between lectures at academic institutions in Europe and North America.

Bill Bruford

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