Percussionist William Winant has been the avant-elite’s go-to percussionist for more than 35 years.


2014 Grammy nominated percussionist has performed with some of the most innovative and creative musicians of our time, including John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Keith Jarrett, Anthony Braxton, James Tenney, Cecil Taylor, George Lewis, Steve Reich and Musicians, Yo-Yo Ma, Frederic Rzewski, Ursula Oppens, Joan LaBarbara, Annea Lockwood, Oingo Boingo, Mr. Bungle, Sonic Youth, and the Kronos String Quartet.


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.

He has collaborated with some of the most innovative and creative musicians of our time, including John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, Frank Zappa, Keith Jarrett, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith, James Tenney, Terry Riley, Cecil Taylor, Gerry Hemingway, Mark Dresser, Barry Guy, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Steve Reich and Musicians, Nexus, Charles Wuorinen, Jean-Philippe Collard, Frederic Rzewski, Ursula Oppens, Joan LaBarbara, Annea Lockwood, Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo, Sonic Youth, Marc Ribot, Keith Rowe, Joey Barron, Bill Frisell, Yo-Yo Ma, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, and the Kronos String Quartet.

He has recorded and toured worldwide with his own groups including ROOM, w/Chris Brown and Larry Ochs, CHALLENGE, w/Anthony Braxton and David Rosenboom, WAKE, w/Frank Gratkowski and Chris Brown, the ABEL/STEINBERG/WINANT TRIO, and the WILLIAM WINANT PERCUSSION GROUP.

Click here to download a copy of the Poon Village promo sheet.

He is principal percussionist with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, he has been closely associated with NYC composer John Zorn, and has made numerous recordings, and performed in many projects throughout the world with the composer. Starting in 1995 he has been the percussionist with the avant-rock band Mr. Bungle, has made two recordings ("Disco Volante" and "California" on Warner Brothers), and has toured throughout the world with this group. For many years he had worked with composer Lou Harrison, recording and premiering many of his works, and in March of 1997 he participated in the world premiere of Lou Harrison's quintet "Rhymes with Silver" featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and has toured the piece throughout the United States and Great Britain.

In the fall of 2011, he joined Mike Patton's Italian pop music project "Mondo Cane" which features a 12 piece band + string orchestra, and have recently completed tours of South America and Australia.

In the fall of 2003, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Mr. Winant, along with composers Takehisa Kosugi and Christian Wolff, created music for a series of eight special "Events" staged by Merce Cunningham and Dancers at London's Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern. Winant continued to tour throughout Europe and the United States with the dance company until 2009

He has made over 200 recordings, covering a wide variety of genres, including music by Earle Brown, John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, John Zorn, Butch Morris, James Newton, Frank Gratkowski, Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Danny Elfman ("Batman Returns"), Siouxse and the Banshees, Secret Chiefs 3, ICP, Han Bennik, The Ex, White Out with Jim O’Rourke, Lou Reed, Thurston Moore, and Mike Patton.

His recording of Lou Harrison's "La Koro Sutro" (which he produced for New Albion Records) was the New York Times Critic's Choice for best contemporary recording of 1988. In 1999 he produced a recording of music by 20th-century avant-garde composers with the influential rock band Sonic Youth; "Goodbye 20th-Century" (SYR4), was hailed by both The Los Angeles Times and New York's Village Voice as one of the best compendiums of this type of music ever recorded. His recording with cellist Joan Jeanrenaud of her CD "Strange Toys" was nominated for a Grammy in 2009. Also he along with guitarists Henry Kaiser and David Lindley, created special music for Werner Herzog's 2009 Oscar nominated documentary "Encounters at the End of the World". His latest recording with Roscoe Mitchell combining three trios and recorded over 3 days at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, is due out on the ECM label in 2017.

Mr. Winant has premiered many new works written specifically for him, by such noted composers as John Cage, Christian Wolff, Lou Harrison, John Zorn, Zeena Parkins, Bun-Ching Lam, Barbara Monk Feldman, Hi-Kyung Kim, Roscoe Mitchell, Wendy Reid, Ralph Shapey, Peter Garland, Michael Byron, Paul Dresher, Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski, Chris Brown, David Rosenboom, Larry Polansky, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, Terry Riley, Fred Frith, Somei Satoh, and Wadada Leo Smith.

Mr. Winant has been featured as a guest artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (under the direction of Pierre Boulez), the San Francisco Symphony, and the Berkeley Symphony (Kent Nagano, director), as well as at Cabrillo Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, SF Jazz Festival, Central Park Summerstage, Ravinia Festival, Salzburg Festival, Donaueschingen Festival, Victoriaville, Holland Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Ojai Festival, Sonar Festival, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Taklos, Other Minds Festival, Lincoln Center, Melt Down Festival, Royal Festival Hall, Library of Congress, The Barbican, The Kennedy Center, Paris Opera, Disney Hall, Miller Theater Composer Portraits Series, Merkin Hall, Guggenheim Museum, and Brooklyn Academy of Music.

For ten years he was principal percussionist with the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra (Dennis Russell Davies, director), and timpanist with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra 1985-1988 (Nicholas McGegan, director).

He is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and teaches at Mills College and the University of California at Berkeley. For eight years Mr. Winant was Artist-in-Residence at Mills College with the critically acclaimed Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio. Formed in 1984, the ASW Trio has premiered over 25 new works for violin, piano, and percussion at major festivals and recitals throughout the world. Their recordings can be heard on the New Albion, Tzadik, and CRI/New World labels.


News & Performances


April 8, The 80th birthday concert of Daniel Goode. April in Santa Cruz Festival, featuring William Winant directing the UC Santa Cruz Percussion Ensemble in the world premier of Dan Goode’s “Two-One” (2015) for electric guitar, piano and percussion ensemble.

March 16/18 “Le Noir de L’ Etoile” (1989-90) for 6 percussions by Gerard Grisey. The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, directed by Steve Schick. @Z-Space San Francisco.

March 5, Thomas Buckner Baritone in the bay area premier of “Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, 1849, Six Ideas” by Wadada Leo Smith. St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley.

February 20, US Premier of “TLAPITZALLI 2” for flute and percussion, by Hilda Paredes. Mills College Concert Hall.


December 5, BESTIA FESTIVAL, Mexico City, William Winant special guest w/SECRET CHIEFS 3, John Zorn Masada Marathon.

November 21, The Music of Zeena Parkins@The Stone, New York City. Featuring Maggie Parkins, Sara Parkins, and William Winant.

November 5 and 7, Mills College Student Union, The Hearst Mining Building UC Berekeley. Music of sound artist Tarek Atoui. Featuring the William Winant Percussion Group.

November 8, William Winant Percussion Group@The Exploratorium San Francisco. Playing music by Luc Ferrari, Christian Wolff, Pauline Oliveros, and Barney Childs.

October 20, The San Francisco Music Players (w/William Winant principal percussionist), playing the bay area premier of Gerard Grisey’s “Quatre chants pour franchir le suiel” Alice Teyssier guest soloist. SF Conservatory of Music.

September 26/27 In concert with Roscoe Mitchell @ The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Featuring William Winant, Tyshawn Sorey, Craig Taborn, Tani Tabal, James Fei, Hugh Ragin, Jaribu Shaid, and Kikanju Baku.

October 9, Australian National Academy of Music-ANAM Hall, Melbourne. “Wild Percussion” a night of John Zorn’s percussion musc, + COBRA. Featuring William Winant soloist/promter, and in concert with the students of ANAM. Part of a week long residency at the conservatory which involved lectures, master classes, coaching, and final concert.

May 22,@ The New Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC, William Winant playing “Zones of Influence” (1984-85) by David Rosenboom. A 5 movement, 90 minute work for percussionist with live electronics, composed specifically for Winant.

May 2, ZORN @ The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, William Winant playing John Zorn’s solo “Gri-Gri” for 13 tuned drums, and “Dark River” for 4 bass drums.

April 26, Terry Riley 80th birthday concert in Nevada City, featuring Terry Riley, Gyan Riley, Tracy Silverman, and William Winant.

January 25, the world premier of a new work “Quatrain: Slow Portraits iii (2014) by Du Yun. Cal-Performances UC Berekeley.


Nominated for a Grammy in 2014 for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for his recording of "The 10,000 Things" by John Cage. Micro Fest Records.

WILLIAM WINANT and JOAN JEANRENAUD DUO in concert at Mills College, playing pieces written for them by Alvin Curran, Lou Harrison, Fred Frith, Steed Cowart, and Joan Jeanrenaud. January 25, 2014.

TRIO with GEORGE LEWIS/ROSCOE MITCHELL/WILLIAM WINANT @ Mills College March 22, 2014 8pm. Also on program William Winant performing in the world premier of "Foreword" for chamber ensemble (2014), by George Lewis.

WILLIAM WINANT/ALVIN CURRAN performing pieces from Alvin Curran's recently published "FAKE BOOK"@The Center for New Music in San Francisco, March 28, 2014.

WILLIAM WINANT in residence at the Academy of Music in Basil, Switzerland April 28 through May 2. Running workshops on the game pieces of John Zorn.

The WILLIAM WINANT PERCUSSION GROUP with NEW KEYS in the World Premier of a new work by Jonathan Russell "Cascading Resonance" (2014) for 5 Pianos and 5 Percussionists. May 8, 2014 at the Piedmont Piano Company, Oakland.

WILLIAM WINANT on tour with FRED FRITH'S "GRAVITY" playing Victoriaville Festival May 15-18, Quebec Canada. Moers Festival June 9, Germany.

The WILLIAM WINANT PERCUSSION GROUP performing the music of John Cage and Steve Reich for New Music Works in Santa Cruz CA September 5, 2014.


William Winant in concert with Roscoe Mitchell and James Fei, performing Roscoe Mitchell’s new trio “Angel City” at the Exploratorium in San Francisco December 12.

The William Winant Percussion Group performing John Cage’s “Fads and Fancies in the Academy” 1941 @ the Mills College Art Museum December 2.

William Winant  performing a world premiere of a new work for solo percussion by Makiko Nishikazi Mills College Oakland California November 2.

ZORN at 60  Miller Theater 25th Anniversary Season Opening Night Part 1: Orchestra David Fulmer conductor. All-Star Orchestra with William Winant percussionist playing in the US Premiere of “Suppots et Supplications” (2012), as well as Zorn’s “Orchestral Variations” (1996). Miller Theater September 25, 8:00PM.

ZORN at 60 Part 3: Game Pieces Miller Theater September 27th. William Winant in concert with George Lewis/Mike Patton/John Zorn/Joey Barron/Mark Ribot/Brian Nash/Ikue Mori/Sylvie Courvosier/Trevor Dunn/Cyro Baptista/Ches Smith/Madeski/Kenny Wollesen performing COBRA (1984), HOCKEY (1978), LACROSSE (1976), and Xu Feng (1985).

ZORN at the MET Saturday September 28, 2013. Featuring William Winant performing Zorn’s monumental solo work “Gri-Gri” for 13 tuned drums, as well as “Dark River” for 4 bass drums with Alex Lipowski in the Melanesia Gallery of the MET in NYC!

William Winant in performance with Fred Frith’s “Gravity” @ Roulette in Brooklyn NY, September 19th and 20th.

Gratkowski/Brown/Winant/Wessel in concert @ CNMAT @ UC Berkeley, August 15.

William Winant Percussion Group in concert @ the Berkeley Art Museum, performing works by Alvin Lucier, James Tenney, and Pauline Oliveros August 2nd.

William Winant/Mike Patton/Scott Amendola/Matthias Bossi   performing live music to the film “WAXWORKS” by director Paul Leni. The 56 San Francisco Film Festival@ The Castro Theater May 7th.

OTHER MINDS FESTIVAL 18 presents THE WILLIAM WILLIAM PERCUSSION GROUP and AMY X NEUBERG in the world premiere of a new work by Aaron Gervais "Work Around the World" (2012) for voice/electronics and 4 percussionists. March 2nd 2013 @ Jewish Community Center for the Arts, San Francisco.

William Winant in the world premiere of Mark Applebaum's "Rabbit Hole" (2012) with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. February 25, 2013 Herbst Theater SF.


Recent Recordings and Appearances
Five American Percussion Pieces
Five American Percussion Pieces

Poon Village ‎– PV 007 LP
Released: 29 Oct 2013

Zones of Influence
Zones of Influence

Pogus 21074-2
Released: Jun 20 2014

Fragmentaions, Prayers and Interjections
Fragmentaions, Prayers and Interjections

Tzadik Cat. # 8315
Released: Mar 2014

The 10,0000 Things
The 10,0000 Things

Microfest Records B00FG833DM
Released: October 30 2013

The 10,0000 Things
Eclipse Quartet with William Winant

New World Records B00CDVSXL2
Released: June 4 2013

Encounters at the End of the World
Encounters at the End of the World

Fractal Music 2013A
Released: Oct 01 2013

Click HERE for a complete discography.



(from John Zorn's Masada: Voices in the Wilderness)

(The William Winant Percussion Group from Drums Along the Pacific)

Return To Sender
(From Alvin Curran's Lost Marbles)


Click to see the full image


Reviews and Interviews

Download the Poon Village PROMO SHEET.

Full Review of Five Percussion Pieces in THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Full Review of Five Percussion Pieces in SPIN.

Would you like to learn more?

Contact William Winant