Called “hypnotic, enthralling…dynamic” (Oregon ArtsWatch), Christopher Whyte is known for his wide-ranging artistry as a performer, collaborator, composer, and educator. He has presented recitals, concerts, and masterclasses internationally in Asia, Europe, Canada and throughout the United States.
As a founding member of the Portland Percussion Group, he is dedicated to fostering percussion performance through dynamic concerts, engaging collaborations, and the creation of new music. In October 2020, the quartet made its European debut at the GAIDA Festival of Contemporary Music in Vilnius, Lithuania performing a full length concert in addition to collaborating on Steve Reich’s iconic Drumming with the Colin Currie Quartet.
Whyte is a member of Third Angle New Music, and regularly performs with the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Opera Orchestra, and Oregon Ballet Theater. He recently released his debut solo album on New Focus Recordings, featuring works by Lou Harrison, Sarah Hennies, Toshio Hosokawa, and an original composition for percussion and electronics, commissioned by Third Angle New Music and inspired by the process of winemaking so intertwined in the life of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Whyte is currently Percussion Area Coordinator at Portland State University, has served on the faculty of Western Oregon University, and is resident faculty member of the International Percussion Institute, a summer percussion performance and research institute held annually in Aberdeen, Scotland. Whyte is currently President of the Oregon Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society and has performed or presented at the Other Minds Festival, Connecticut Summerfest, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, College Music Society (CMS), Northwest region NAfME conference, The Midwest Clinic, nienteForte Festival, Oregon Music Educators Association Conference (OMEA), the PICA Festival, New York’s Fringe Festival, and Music for All National Chamber Music Festival.
Portland State University
Most memorable Next-Level PerformanceDuring the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, traveling with the Portland Percussion Group to Vilnius, Lithuania to perform at the GAIDA Festival of Contemporary Music was a real highlight. We traveled through empty airports on mostly empty airplanes, made it to Vilnius, quarantined in our hotel for two days, and then gave a full concert performance of works for percussion quartet, including some composed for our ensemble. It was an incredibly memorable performance, and a ton of details came together to make it possible. A couple of days after our quartet concert, we joined forces with Colin Currie and his group to give the Lithuanian premiere of Steve Reich's "Drumming." The entire thing was a real once-in-a-lifetime experience, and especially given the circumstances, playing those concerts for live European audiences was especially surreal and memorable!
What Drives Your Creativity?I look for creativity in places big and small. I feel that creativity is a way of being, and an approach to daily life, and it pops up in sometimes the most unexpected places. I try to look for a sense of creativity wherever I can, and I find this helps me to stay in a creative mindset, even if I'm in the midst of seemingly uncreative tasks or projects. A big part of the creativity I find comes from those I collaborate with in performances, and my students are a constant source of creativity as well!
Why do you choose Vic Firth?Vic Firth has been a part of my life since I started playing the drums 30 years ago. I have always loved the attention to detail, and the support for artists and educators of all kinds. The sticks and mallets I use are so reliable, and allow me to play with the sound I want. I love the sense of shared purpose and community among VF artists!