Percussion Ensemble

Williams Percussion Ensemble (WiPE)

The Williams College Department of Music presents the Williams Percussion Ensemble on Friday, April 12 at 8:00 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams campus. This free event is open to the public.

The Williams Percussion Ensemble (WiPE), conducted by artist associate Matthew Gold, presents cutting edge and experimental music that 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. The ensemble also collaborates with artists in other media and composers to explore the connections between different types of sound, form, image, and movement.

This performance is titled “Skins,” a program of tactile, sensual, and visceral music exploring touch, texture, and surfaces.

A featured work is Marcos Balter’s six movement piece for percussion quartet, dark rooms, based on the tactile nature of human bonding and intimacy. Each of its movements is a different room, composed of wailing cries and whimpers, scratching and heavy breathing, violent drumming, as well as virtuosic mallet playing. dark rooms employs a huge battery of instruments and covers dynamic territory ranging from thunderous beating to the gentle rubbing of hands on a conga’s body and skin.

WiPE will also present Steve Reich’s Four Organs, a masterpiece of early process music. In this work for four electric organs and maracas, a single chord is gradually elongated, “like a sort of horizontal bar graph in time,” over the relentless and driving pulse of the maracas.

George Crumb’s An Idyll for the Misbegotten, a piece for amplified flute and three drummers, will also be featured. In this piece by one of the late 20th century’s most influential composers, Chapin Hall will be filled with the rumble of beating and scraping on drums.

Two works by young composers David T. Little and Williams graduate Andrea Mazzariello ‘00 will also be presented. Each of these works develops extraordinary rhythmic counterpoint using limited means, such as flowerpots, wooden planks, metal pipes, glass bottles, and wooden sticks.

Continuing its tradition of working with composers, WiPE will present a world premiere by ensemble member Casey McLellan ’14 and a preview of the first movement of Circadian Rhythms by Susie Ibarra.

Matthew Gold is a New York based percussionist with a deep commitment to new music. A member of Talea Ensemble and the Talujon percussion group, and a former co-director of TimeTable Percussion, he performs regularly with Sequitur, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, New York New Music Ensemble, Either/Or, SEM Ensemble, and many others. Mr. Gold is an Artist Associate in percussion at Williams College where he directs the Williams Percussion Ensemble, I/O Ensemble, and I/O Fest, an annual new music festival. He performs regularly with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and has been an artist-faculty member of the Institute and Festival for Contemporary Performance at Mannes College and a member of the resident ensemble at the Walden School’s Young Musicians Program. In 2013 he is joining the performance faculty of the annual Composer’s Conference at Wellesley College.