Carnegie Hall Commissions
From Lincoln Center to Balinese temples, from loft spaces to international festivals, composer/performer Evan Ziporyn has traveled the globe in search of new musical possibilities. His work is informed by his 25-year involvement with Balinese gamelan, which has ranged from intensive study of traditional music to the creation of a series of groundbreaking works for gamelan and western instruments. Most recently, he led his 30-member ensemble, Gamelan Galak Tika, in a triumphant debut performance in New York’s Zankel Hall, hailed by the New York Times as “an exuberant blast of metal fireworks.” This was followed in summer 2005 by a multi-city tour of Bali, where the group performed his cross-cultural works in collaboration with top Balinese gamelans and choreographers.
Recent large projects have included a new work for Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, premiered in September 2006; a concerto for gamelan and strings for Galak Tika and the Philadelphia Classical Orchestra, commissioned by the Pew Foundation, premiered in April 2007; his acclaimed music for the American Repertory Theater’s 2004 production of Oedipus Rex; new orchestral works for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project; and a new recording of chamber music, Typical Music, for New Albion Records, to be released November 2005.
His compositions have been performed by the Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can, Nederlands Blazer Ensemble, master pipaist Wu Man, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Maya Beiser and Steven Schick, Arden Trio, California EAR Unit, pianists Sarah Cahill, Christopher Oldfather, and Cristina Valdes, and Orkest de Volharding. As a bass clarinetist, he has developed a distinctive set of extended techniques which he has used in his own solo works, as well as in new works by Martin Bresnick, Michael Gordon, and David Lang. His 2001 solo clarinet CD, “This is Not a Clarinet” (Cantaloupe) received critical acclaim on NPR’s All Thing’s Considered, PRI’s The World, and on numerous critic’s top ten lists at year’s end. He has been associated with the Bang On A Can Festival since its founding in 1987, appearing as composer, soloist, and ensemble leader. As a member of the Bang On A Can All-stars, he has toured over two dozen countries and worked with composers such as Louis Andriessen, Iva Bittova, Glenn Branca, Don Byron, Alvin Curran, Nick Didkovsky, Arnold Dreyblatt, Philip Glass, Steve Martland, Meredith Monk, Thurston Moore, Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Terry Riley, Ralph Shapey, Matthew Shipp, Tan Dun, Cecil Taylor, and Henry Threadgill. In addition to writing for the group and co-producing several of their recordings, he has arranged for the group works by Brian Eno, Conlon Nancarrow, Hermeto Pascoal, and Kurt Cobain. He also regularly performs and records as a featured soloist with Steve Reich and Musicians, and shared in their 1999 Grammy for Music for 18 Musicians. As a conductor, he has toured Europe with Germany’s acclaimed Ensemble Modern and has recorded Michael Gordon’s Weather with Ensemble Resonanz for Nonesuch.
Born in Chicago in 1959, Ziporyn received degrees from Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley, where his teachers included John Blacking, Martin Bresnick, Gerard Grisey, and David Lewin. Upon completing a Fullbright Fellowship in Indonesia, he became Musical Coordinator of San Francisco’s Gamelan Sekar Jaya in 1988. He collaborated with Balinese composer I Nyoman Windha on Kekembangan, a border-crossing work for full gamelan and saxophone quartet. Moving to Boston in 1990 to take a teaching position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he founded Gamelan Galak Tika in 1993. His works for gamelan and western instruments have been released on two volumes for New World Records.
As a performer and recording artist, Ziporyn has worked with a range of master musicians from numerous musical cultures, including Paul Simon (with whom he toured throughout the fall of 2000), DJ Spooky, Matthew Shipp, Balinese dalang I Wayan Wija, Burmese pat waing master Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Darius Brubeck, Nobukazu Takemura, Todd Reynolds and Ethel, Sandhile Shange and Allen Kwela, Bob Moses, Andrea Parker, Trichy Sankaran, and Tony Scott. Venues have included New York’s Lincoln Center, the Sydney Opera House (for the 2000 Olympic Arts Festival), Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Southbank Centre, the Bali Arts Festival, and at least a dozen other countries. As a player, he has recorded for Sony Classical, Nonesuch, Gramavision, New Albion, and Point Music. He has received grants from the Rockefeller Multi-Arts Program, Meet the Composer, the New England Foundation for the Arts, NEA/Arts International, ASCAP, the Cambridge Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was the 2004 recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Goddard Lieberson Fellowship, and is Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is Head of Music and Theater Arts. His puppet opera, Shadow Bang, a collaboration with Balinese puppeteer I Wayan Wija, was recently released on Cantaloupe Music.