Winnipeg-born percussionist Ben Reimer became captivated by the drumset and the music that showcases this instrument at an early age. The sounds of drummers such as Neal Peart, Stewart Copland and Dave Grohl fuelled his musical pursuits.
Reimer first recorded with his indie rock band The Lanes (frequently landing on !earshot’s college radio charts in Canada) and artists such as soul singer Maiko Watson (formerly of the pop group Sugar Jones). With Western Canadian Music Award winners, Moses Mayes, Reimer played International Jazz Festivals across Canada and other festivals such as the 10K Lakes Fest in Detroit Lakes and the Evolve in Nova Scotia.
Shifting his focus towards classical percussion, Reimer received a BMus (’00) from McGill University in Montreal and MMus (’01) from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, under the direction of Raymond DesRoches. In 2014, Reimer completed a DMus. at McGill University. His main focus of research and performance demonstrated how the drumset, traditionally an improvised instrument, emerged as a solo instrument with prescribed notation. This topic is explored in his dissertation, “Defining the Role of Drumset in Contemporary Music Performance.”
Based in Montreal, Ben has established himself as a leading figure in contemporary drumset performance, commissioning solo works such as Ringer by Nicole Lizée, Full Grown by Scott Edward Godin, Train Set by Eliot Britton and the duet Lakoni in Kazonnde by Lukas Ligeti with David Cossin (Bang On A Can). He has arranged the solos Liberty by Tony Williams and Spooky Drums by Baby Dodds and was featured in the publication, Drummer’s Journal (4th ed. Aug 2013). As a drumset soloist Ben premiered four concertos by Nicole Lizée with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony – Edwin Outwater conducting, the SMCQ – Walter Boudreau conducting, Architek Percussion Quartet and TorQ Percussion Quartet. His album “Katana of Choice – Music for Drumset Soloist” is available from Redshift Records: https://redshiftrecords.org/releases/tk456/.
As a percussionist, Reimer has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Manitoba Theatre Centre and Thunder Bay Symphony. He has participated in the Scotia Festival of Music, Make Music New York, Bang On A Can Summer Music Festival at MassMoca and the Roots and Rhizomes Percussion Residency at the Banff Centre. He has been a guest soloist in the Bang On A Can Marathon, Brandon University “Pro Series”, the Winnipeg International New Music Festival, GroundSwell (Winnipeg), The Little Chamber Music Series That Could, Music on Main, PuSh Festival, (Vancouver), Innovations En Concert and live@CIRMMT (Montreal).
As an educator, Reimer is an Adjunct Professor at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University. He was the Coordinator of Percussion Studies at Brandon University from 2003-2009 while also teaching a range of performance, music education and music therapy courses at the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Mennonite University. Reimer has been a guest clinician at the Manitoba Band Association Summer Band Camp, Quebec Band Association Honour Band, the International Music Camp (International Peace Gardens), Prairie Percussion Camp, Winnipeg DrumTalk and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. Reimer currently teaches private and group classes at École FACE in downtown Montreal.
Ben Reimer can be heard on recordings such as: “Bookburners” and “This Will Not Be Televised” – music by Nicole Lizée (Centredisc), “Pinnacles” – music by Diana McIntosh (Centredisc), “Inuksuit” – music by John Luther Adams (Cantaloupe Music) and “A Menacing Plume” – music by Rand Steiger (New World Records).
Reimer is a member of Architek Percussion in Montreal and Chow/Reimer Duo (with Vicky Chow, piano) and is a Sabian Cymbals, Yamaha Canada and Vic Firth artist.