Artist Spotlight: Eyal Gurvich

Eyal Gurvich is a professional musician based in Brooklyn, New York. Over the last decade, Eyal has toured and performed with internationally acclaimed artists such as: Phil Woods, Ellis Hall, Ellen Allard, Abacus Project and his own groups. He has played at some of the most prestigious venues around the world: JZ Club, Hua Hin Jazz Festival, Red Sea Jazz Festival, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum and Israel’s National Museum.
Originally from Israel, Eyal moved to the US to study drums and composition at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with Grammy award winner Billy Kilson. After graduating with highest honors in 2018, he moved to New York where he is currently an active drummer, composer and band leader.

Eyal Gurvich. Photo: Olga Kisseleva

What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?

Since I was young, my father, a known filmmaker in Israel, used to play records from a variety of genres and artists. I was fascinated by Bach, Led Zeppelin, Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, Buena Vista Social Club and their approach to rhythm, although it was not until I was 13 that I started studying drums seriously. I was then lucky to meet Ran Levi, an incredible bass player, musician and educator, who was the first person to facilitate my path as a musician and an artist, rather than just a drummer. Ran was somewhat strict about respecting the music and insisted on letting it flow through you rather than the opposite. It was then when I experienced these moments of raw and pure connection with other people and sounds, and I decided they are more than worthy of pursuing.

What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?

I decided I want to be a professional musician when I was 15. A year later, I received a scholarship to attend the Jazz Institute at the Rimon School of Music, where I was exposed to different aspects of music such as composition, arranging and orchestration. I realized that being a drummer was not enough for me, and started writing my own compositions. Something in the craft of it all was magical. I enjoyed spending my time performing, composing, arranging and producing, and all of that just made me a better musician without even noticing.

Eyal Gurvich. Photo: Gaia Wilmer

What do you need as an artist today?

As a 15-year-old, it was easy to accept the challenge of becoming a professional musician. Today, it is obvious that it is not so simple. Financial security drives us all to do things and act in certain ways we wouldn’t have if it were not a major part of our culture. As an artist, I try to find people who don’t surrender to that concept completely, and who strive to create regardless. Last but not least, today’s world brought us easy access to a vast amount of music. I feel blessed that I can listen to virtually any album whenever I want, something that was very limited in the past.

What creative project are you working on now?

I’m currently performing with my quintet around NYC, and planning to get inside the studio to record a debut album which will feature my artistic journey thus far. I’m also a part of the MundosMusic label’s house band, and we will have a show at the end of next month with the incredible Timna Comedi. We will also be featuring legendary Brazilian producer and song-writer Jair Oliveira. I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

Eyal Gurvich. Photo: Marisa Marchitelli

What does it mean to you to have an organization like the AICF supporting artists and culture?

I feel grateful I can still create thanks to the help and support of such organizations. Not only the funding and showcasing are important, but the genuine human connection and encouragement are valuable to many of us and we are all thankful for that.