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2019: Winant/Watkins

William Winant: drums, percussion
Zachary James Watkins: guitar, pedals

The William Winant / Zachary James Watkins Duo create improvised landscapes playing percussion and electronics. Interested in the sensitive relationships between their respective instrumental colors, the two explore radical form, dynamics and timbre in real time.

William Winant is an avant-garde percussionist who has performed and collaborated with musicians musical acts as diverse as Sonic Youth, Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, and Oingo Boingo. He has studied with James Tenney, Steve Reich, and John Bergamo, played music with The Kronos String Quartet, Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, Roscoe Mitchell, Keith Jarrett, and Yo-Yo Ma, and has recorded music with Christian Wolff and Danny Elfman. In 2016, Winant was awarded a large unrestricted grant from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts in recognition for his groundbreaking work as a contemporary percussionist.

In 2014 he received a Grammy nomination for his recording of John Cage’s historic solo work, 27' 10.554" for a percussionist, on Micro Fest Records. Winant has made more than 200 recordings in a variety of genres, including music by Han Bennink, Earle Brown, Luc Ferrari, Pauline Oliveros, Mike Patton, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Ex, and White Out with Jim O'Rourke. Winant took part in the 1976 American premiere of John Cage's “Lecture on the Weather” at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. Winant also performed in the 1992 premiere of Cage’s “Four6,” a piece dedicated to Winant, Pauline Oliveros, Joan La Barbara, and Leonard Stein. Winant's notable works include his recording of Lou Harrison's La koro sutro (1988) and SYR4: Goodbye 20th Century (1999), on which he collaborated closely with Sonic Youth and avant-garde classical composers. In 2016, Winant performed at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York as part of John Zorn's Praise, a new work for harp, electronics, and percussion to accompany the exhibition Agnes Martin.

Zachary James Watkins studied composition with Janice Giteck, Jarrad Powell, Robin Holcomb and Jovino Santos Neto at Cornish College. In 2006, Zachary received an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College where he studied with Chris Brown, Fred Frith, Alvin Curran and Pauline Oliveros. Zachary has received commissions from Cornish College of The Arts, The Microscores Project, the Beam Foundation, Somnubutone Radio Series free103point9.org, sfsound and the Seattle Chamber Players. His 2006 composition Suite for String Quartet was awarded the Paul Merritt Henry Prize for Composition and has subsequently been performed at the Labs 25th Anniversary Celebration, the Labor Sonor Series at Kule in Berlin Germany and in Seattle Wa, as part of the 2nd Annual Town Hall New Music Marathon featuring violist Eyvind Kang. Zachary has performed in numerous festivals across the United States, Mexico and Europe and his band Black Spirituals opened for pionering Drone Metal bandEarth during their 2015 European tour. In 2008, Zachary premiered a new multi-media work entitled Country Western as part of the Meridian Gallery's Composers in Performance Series that received grants from the The American Music Center and The Foundation for Contemporary Arts. An excerpt of this piece is published on a compilation album entitled "The Harmonic Series" along side Pauline Oliveros, Ellen Fullman, Theresa Wong Charles Curtis and Duane Pitre among others. Zachary designed the sound and composed music for the plays I have loved Strangers produced by Just Theatre, which listed “top ten of 2007” in the East Bay Express and the 8th Annual ReOrient Theatre Festival. His sound art work entitled Third Floor::Designed Obsolescence, “spoke as a metaphor for the breakdown of the dream of technology and the myth of our society’s permanence,” review by Susan Noyes Platt in the Summer 05 issue of ARTLIES. Zachary releases music on the labels Sige, Cassauna, Confront (UK), The Tapeworm and Touch (UK). Novembre Magazine (DE), ITCH (ZA), Walrus Press and the New York Miniature Ensemble have published his writings and scores. Zachary has been an artist in resident at the Espy Foundation, Djerassi and the Headlands Center for The Arts.


Winant/Watkins (photo by Peter B Kaars)

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