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 twenty-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. His compositions for conventional forces have been performed by the Kronos Quartet, Bang On A Can, Nederlands Blazer Ensemble, master p'ipaist Wu Man, Maya Beiser and Steven Schick, Arden Trio, California EAR Unit, pianist Sarah Cahill, 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 new works by Martin Bresnick, Michael Gordon, and David Lang. 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 a dozen countries and worked with composers such as Glenn Branca, Don Byron, Brett Dean, Nick Didkovsky, Arnold Dreyblatt, Steve Martland, Ralph Shapey, Tan Dun, Henry Threadgill, and Julia Wolfe. In addition to writing for the group and co-producing their most recent recordings, he has arranged works by Brian Eno, Hermeto Pascoal, and Kurt Cobain. He also regularly performs and records as a featured soloist with Steve Reich and Musicians. As a conductor, he has toured Europe with Germany's acclaimed Ensemble Modern and has recorded Michael Gordon's "Weather" with Ensemble Resonanz.
Born in Chicago in 1959, Ziporyn received degrees from Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley, where his primary teachers were Martin Bresnick and John Blacking. 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. This and subsequent works for gamelan and western instruments have been released on two volumes for New World Records. Moving to Boston in 1990 to take a teaching position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he founded Gamelan Galak Tika in 1993.
As a performer and recording artist, Ziporyn has worked with a range of master musicians from numerous musical cultures, including Paul Simon, Tan Dun, Wu Man, Maya Beiser and Steven Schick, Darius Brubeck, Todd Reynolds and Ethel, Sandhile Shange and Allen Kwela, Bob Moses, and Tony Scott. Venues have included New York's Lincoln Center, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, London's Southbank Centre, and the Bali Arts Festival. His new solo clarinet CD, "This is not a clarinet," will be released on the Canteloupe label in July; other works are recorded on Sony Classical, Koch International, and New Tone. As a player, he has recorded for 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, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is currently completing a puppet opera with Balinese dalang Wayan Wija, to be premiered in the fall of 2001. He is Professor of Music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.