Peter Szendofi is one of the most talented professional drummers, composers and most frequently employed musicians in Hungary, whose reputation as an educator crossed the Hungarian borders long ago. He teaches at Galileo University Guatemala, North Karelia University Finland and Drummers Collective, New York. He is also a member of the Drum Set Committee of Percussive Arts Society. As a musician, Peter has played on about 130 albums, and has performed with Loop Doctors (with Gary Willis and Brandon Fields), Fusio Group, Trio Ricardo, Subjective Symptom, and Eastwing Group, among others. He has also done a video for the widely popular Drumeo channel.
Peter is busy conducting drum clinics, workshops, courses and master classes all over the world. He has also visited Poland with those in mind, one of which was organized by us – www.beatit.tv. We invited him to Poznań, Poland, to do a drum clinic at the Republika Rytmu music school.
We took the opportunity to interview the man in-depth so that our viewers can also get at least a tiny bit of this great drummer’s knowledge and experience. In the second part, we talk about him meeting some of his drum heroes in person, his first drum kit ever, and the first professional kit he ever owned.
Peter Szendofi is is an international artist endorser for Tama Drums, Bosphorus Cymbals, Remo Drumheads, Regal Tip Sticks and Humes&Berg Cases.
Peter Szendofi talks to BeatIt, Pt. 2
The transition from a student to a professional drummer happened automatically for me by the routine, previous recording sessions and musical experiences with different bands and genres. I’m still learning and learning. If I check the stuff by my biggest heroes, for example Dennis Chambers, whom I played with last year. It was incredible to spend a few hours with Dennis talking in the hotel bar. At the end of our conversation, I said I have a thick pile of transcriptions of his stuff, which took many months to make. He just said: ‘I’m sorry’. I’ve met Vinnie Colaiuta and Gary Novak several times. Those guys are somewhere else for me.
There is no borderline between being a learner and seeker of knowledge and being a pro. Of course, I’ve done over 130 recordings. When I got back to Hungary from the US, I started to do a lot of sessions. My very first solo album came out in 2005. That was the very first time in my life when I put together an album with 15 different guest artists (guitarists, bass players, keyboard players, singers) and my own compositions. I was trying to combine all of my musical background. Maybe then I realized something different started to happen for me professionally.
At my clinics, some people ask me how I made that transition from a student to a professional drummer, but they do it in a different dialect. They will ask me about my classical background from the Conservatory of Music or about the time I spent at Drummers Collective.
The first kit I ever had was a piece of junk. The kick drum was from one set, the rack toms were from a different set and the floor tom was another. The floor tom was made from a barrel, so the shell was oval. It was impossible to buy a drum head for that. The second rack tom was hand-made and its size was between 12” and 13”. We had to have a drum builder make a special skin for that one. The sound was horrible. There were no rezo heads. However, I had an original Premier snare drum. I think I bought it off my first teacher.
When I was turning 20, my parents gave me a special birthday gift. I was a huge Billy Cobham fan. At the time Tama Royalstar and Superstar were his signature kits. Those were huge drum sets. My parents found a Royalstar from 1981. They bought it when I was away at the conservatory. When I got back home, I was totally shocked because there was a beautiful drum kit in the middle of the living room. I started crying… I actually slept with the toms. That’s no joke! I set up the kit and realized how loud it was. The old one was a piece of crap after all. Tama had a huge sound already in the early days. It was so clear. The heads gave me no problems. The shell configuration was 22”, 12”, 13”, 16”. Beautiful! You can find an exact same kit in my practice room today. It sounds perfect! With clear Remo Ambassador heads it totally perfect. Fat bass drum sound… I love it!
Drummers and Drummerettes! Here is Peter Szendofi in the second part of an exclusive interview for www.beatit.tv!Share