Percussion Ensemble

Williams Percussion Ensemble (WiPE)

The Williams College Department of Music presents Williams College Percussion Ensemble on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall in a program titled, barcode. This free event is open to the public.

The Williams Percussion Ensemble (WiPE) performs on an endless array of percussion instruments from marimbas to wooden planks and disposable dinnerware on “barcode,” a program of hidden codes and sonic maps. At its center is Juan Felipe Waller’s Plato Plastic Dialogues, a musical mapping of the topographical features of four disposable plastic plates. Waller unlocks the extraordinary sonic potential of these everyday consumer objects, gradually transforming them into instruments worthy of a string quartet. Joan Tower’s DNA for a quintet of more conventional percussion instruments is informed by the spiraling ribbon of double helixes and double strands comprising the building blocks of biological life from which she takes her title. Eve Beglarian’s Spherical Music seeks to achieve an algorithmic music where rule-based events become a kind of magic numerology.  For this performance WiPE will perform six of its twelve marimba parts live, accompanied by our own recording of the other six parts. WiPE wraps up our year-long celebration of the John Cage centenary with two of the quieter works with percussion. Ryoanji is a set of “songs” for solo instruments and ritualistic percussion accompaniment, its long sinuous sliding lines traced onto paper from stones by the composer. And The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs sets a text from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake for voice and percussive tapping on the body of the piano. The program also includes the driving downtown new rock of Nick Didkovsky and classic works by two of America’s most prominent composers, David Lang and Steve Reich.

Williams Percussion Ensemble
In programs featuring cutting edge new and experimental music, and important works of the twentieth-century, WiPE surveys a vast terrain of sound and rhythm.  The ensemble employs all manner of percussion instruments, found sounds, and electronics to create music that resonates across boundaries of genre and discipline.  In addition to music for percussion alone, the group presents works for mixed ensembles and new and experimental music for other instruments, and has often worked directly with composers.  The ensemble also collaborates with artists in other media in order to explore the connections between different types of sound, form, image, and movement.

Matthew Gold
Matthew Gold is a New York based percussionist with a deep commitment to new music.  A member of the Talujon percussion group and Talea Ensemble, and a former co-director of TimeTable Percussion, he performs regularly with Sequitur, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, SEM Ensemble, and many others.  Mr. Gold is an instructor of percussion at Williams College where he directs the Williams Percussion Ensemble and co-directs I/O New Music. Recent solo appearances include concerto performances with Sequitur, the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, and the Williams Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He performs frequently with the Mark Morris Dance Group and the New York City Ballet, and serves as an artist-faculty member for the Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance at Mannes College.