UCSC music lecturer nominated for a Grammy Award

UCSC music lecturer and percussionist William Winant
UCSC music lecturer and percussionist William Winant (above) and at the Metropolitan Museum (below) performing John Zorn's "Gri Gri." (Photos courtesy of William Winant).
UCSC music lecturer and percussionist William Winant has been nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award in the "Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance" category for his work on The Ten Thousand Things by John Cage.

Winant was honored for his recording of Cage’s historic solo percussion piece, 27'10.544” for a percussionist (1956)—one of five Cage pieces on the CD. He was nominated along with fellow musicians--bassist Tom Peters and pianists Vicki Ray and Aron Kallay.

As part of Jacaranda Music’s "Cage 100 Festival", they premiered The Ten Thousand Things in September of 2012 at the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, where Cage gave his first public performance in 1932.  

The Los Angeles Times reported that the performers “were exquisite,” adding, “every sound sounded considered, alive, worthy of our wonder.”

The Grammy-nominated recording was made shortly after that concert.

“My piece, 27'10.554" for a percussionist (1956), is the first multiple solo percussion piece ever written, three years before Stockhausen's Zyklus,” Winant noted. “We recorded it at Mills College over the Christmas break in 2012.”

“It’s a very difficult work, using a graphic score following a stop watch, and includes instruments of wood, metals, skins, and an ‘anything’ category,” he added. “For the anything category, I had (producer/composer) John Leidecker create an electronic part consisting of samples inspired by Cage's Williams Mix.”

Winant has been described by LA Times music critic Mark Swed as “one of the best avant-garde percussionists working today”

He has performed with some of the most innovative musicians around, including Cage, Pierre Boulez, Frank Zappa, Keith Jarrett, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Terry Riley, Steve Reich and Musicians, Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo, Sonic Youth, Yo-Yo Ma, and the Kronos String Quartet.

Winant has also made more than 200 recordings over a wide variety of genres, and has premiered many new works written specifically for him by such noted composers as Cage, Lou Harrison, John Zorn, Peter Garland, Paul Dresher, lvin Curran, Chris Brown, Larry Polansky, Gordon Mumma, Terry Riley and Fred Frith.

The 2014 Grammy Awards take place on January 26, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, the Recording Academy announced that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have just been added to the list of performers at the event.