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Virgil Donati
Eddie Jobson / CAB / Planet X - United States


Virgil was born and raised in Melbourne Australia. From the time he could barely utter a word, he keenly observed the regular band rehearsals his father held in the house. Virgil’s interest in music and instinct for rhythm had been apparent to his parents for some time. They began considering a musical path for him, and one month prior to turning 3, he found himself sitting behind his first real drumset.

Joining his first rock band and signing with his first major label at age 15 was surely the right choice for the young drummer. The band was called `Taste’. This was to give Virgil his early experiences in the studio, with three releases by the band. The relentless touring also allowed him to cultivate and improve his skills where it counts – on stage.

At the age of 16, Virgil turned pro to enable him to tour and focus on music, and has since devoted his whole life and soul to his art. The motivation has been his endless and restless pursuit to express himself through his playing.

At age 19 Virgil traveled to the U.S. to further study drumming, and also took classes in composition and arranging. Returning to Australia at age 21 his career was alight. He was in demand playing many genres of music, including jazz, rock, pop, theatre and studio work. He also worked with many visiting artists, including jazz pianist George Cables, vocalist Mark Murphy, Branford Marsalis and Kenny Kirkland, Melissa Etheridge.

His next taste of commercial success came in the early 90’s with Southern Sons. The band reached double platinum with their debut album. At the same time, throughout the mid 80’s and 90’s, Virgil’s interest in progressive music was exploited with several bands he initiated, most notably Loose Change, and later, On The Virg.

In 1996 Virgil uprooted and relocated in the U.S.A., in an attempt to expand onto the world stage. It has since proved to be a very rewarding and productive time. Recording and touring with the likes of Planet X, Steve Vai, CAB, Scott Henderson, Steve Walsh, Tribal Tech, Frank Gambale, Derek Sherinian, Mark Boals, Dave Stewart, Mick Jagger, Josh Stone, and many others, he continues to push the limits of the instrument to astonishing new levels.

Since securing his first drum set just one month before his third birthday, he has devoted his whole life and soul to his art. The catalyst has been his endless and restless pursuit to express himself through his playing. Virgil is known amongst drummers as a technical virtuoso, having developed incredible power and flexibility (whilst playing traditional grip), mastered polyrhythyms, odd-time playing and intricate phrasing, attained blinding quickness and powerful, metronomic precision - all with a rare attention to showmanship and visual playing.

But it is no secret that it's Virgil's feet that have gained him the most attention, both in Australia and internationally. Having developed incredible speed both with single and double-stroke rolls on the bass drums, he is able to hold complex, often odd-time and syncopated ostinatos at ridiculous tempos with his feet whilst soloing freely and musically with his hands.






Virgil Donati Signature Snare Drum


Equipment Configuration

MMX Masters Series
22x18 bass drum
10x9 tom
12x9 tom
16x16 floor tom
18x16 floor tom
14x12 tom
14x5 Virgil Donati snare
10x4 Sopranino snare

Air toms
10x8 tom
13x11 tom

DR503C ICON rack
RJ50 mini-extension
PCX100 clamp x 9
PCX200 clamp x 4
CH1000 cymbal holder x 8
P2002B belt double pedal (blue cams)
S2000 snare stand
H2000 hi-hat stand (blue cam)
RH2000 remote hi-hat (blue cam)
CLH1000 closed hi-hat
D1000 throne
DCL300P drop clutch
TH2000S tom arms x 3
TH2000 tom arm
AX25L adapter
AX38 adapter x 2
PS85 pedal stabilizer

Air tom hardware:
PCX200 clamp x 2
UX80 universal clamp x 2
TX100 height extender x 2
TH2000I tom holder x 2


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2012 Clinic Handout