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Performance  |  Celebrating the 75th Birthday of Jan Williams

Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 7–9 pm

Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium  

The Burchfield Penney Art Center will celebrate the 75th birthday of legendary percussionist Jan Williams, one of the most important figures in contemporary music, with a special tribute concert Wednesday, July 16, 7 pm. Williams will conduct many of his former students in a performance of Ionization, Edgar Varese’ iconic percussion composition for 13 performers. Ionization, written between 1929 and 1931 has been hailed as the first musical composition to be written for percussion alone.

Performers for this event include John Bacon, Bradley Fuster… Admission is free for members; $5 for not yet members.

About Jan Gardner Williams

Jan Gardner Williams was born July 17, 1939 in Utica, New York. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in music at Manhattan School of Music where he studied percussion with Paul Price and he was a member of the American Symphony Orchestra 1962-1964 under conductor Leopold Stokowski. Williams was selected as one of the first class of Creative Associates for the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts in 1964 at the University at Buffalo. He remained at the University at Buffalo where he created the University at Buffalo Percussion Ensemble in 1964, was appointed to the Music Faculty in 1967, served as Chair of the Music Department 1981-1984, and retired in 1996. He also served as artistic director of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts 1974-1979 and as its resident conductor 1976-1980. He co-directed the North American New Music Festival with Yvar Mikhashoff 1983-1991.

Jan Williams has performed as solo percussionist with orchestras in Paris, Berlin, Israel, Detroit, New York, and Copenhagen. He has appeared as percussionist, conductor, and instructor throughout the United States and internationally. Composers who have written works for him include John Cage, Elliott Carter, Joel Chadabe, Luis De Pablo, Gustavo Matamoros, Frederic Rzewski, Iannis Xenakis, Morton Feldman, Orlando Garcia, Nils Vigeland, and Lukas Foss. His playing and conducting has been captured on at least three dozen commercial recordings and hundreds of archival recordings.