Leo Ferguson, Composer & Drummer
I have been a drummer since I was 15. Born and raised in New York City to a Black jazz saxophonist and a Jewish artist from a family of classical musicians. I studied jazz theory, performance, the history of African-American composers and mallet percussion at Hampshire College and Amherst College under the legendary Yusef Lateef, as well as Margo Simmons and Andrew Jaffe. Although I quickly fell in love with writing music, I started composing largely out of frustration. I felt hemmed in by jazz that was often formulaic or stultifyingly anachronistic and a classical tradition that was incapable of addressing or integrating the experiences of African- Americans (let alone bi-racial Black/Jewish kids).