Percussionist Ian Antonio’s breadth of experience – concertizing across four continents with a wide variety of chamber ensembles, orchestras, experimental rock bands, avant-garde theatre companies, and as a soloist, conductor, and educator – has led him to develop a unique sound and approach to both performing and teaching.
Ian is a director of the Wet Ink Ensemble, a collective of composers and performers. Named 2018’s “Best Ensemble” by the New York Times, Wet Ink most frequently performs as a mixed-instrumentation octet of composer-performers that collaborate in a band-like fashion, writing, improvising, preparing, and touring pieces together over long stretches of time. This approach, honed over 20 years, has led to an incomparable body of work marked by a keenly developed performance practice, played in concert with ferocity, commitment, and expressivity. In demand at both domestic and international venues, Wet Ink’s performances “combine striking stylistic and aesthetic assurance with technical perfection.” (Dissonanz Switzerland)
Ian is also a member of the percussion ensemble Talujon. The group’s septet configuration allows Talujon to produce large-scale and oft-neglected percussive masterworks as well as new pieces written for the ensemble. Described by the New York Times as possessing an “edgy, unflagging energy”, the ensemble has been championing percussive music for well over two decades. Ian has performed with Talujon at the Metropolitation Museum of Art, Bang on a Can Marathon, BAM Next Wave Festival, and elsewhere across the country.
From 2005-2021, Ian was a founding member of the piano percussion quartet Yarn/Wire. Hailed as “mesmerizing and dynamic” by the New York Times, the ensemble is known for the energy and precision it brings to performances of today’s most adventurous music. With Yarn/Wire, Ian appeared at prestigious venues across the globe, including Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Library of Congress, Edinburgh International Festival, Barbican Centre, and Shanghai Symphony Hall. The ensemble held residencies at institutions such as Columbia University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and ISSUE Project Room, among many others. Premiering over one hundred new works, Ian’s performances can be heard on over a dozen Yarn/Wire albums.
From 2003-2012 Ian was a member of the difficult-to-categorize Zs. With Zs, Ian toured both domestically and abroad, recorded extensively, and made composed / improvised “conceptual art objects that set form and content against each other — like, say, a perfect birthday cake made out of sawdust, or a perfect hammer made out of bird feathers.” (New York Times) Equally at home in lofts, basements, galleries, and festivals, Ian performed with Zs at many prominent jazz festivals including the Germany’s Moers Festival, Switzerland’s Jazz Festival Willislau, and Tokyo’s Club Unit. The band’s 2010 album, New Slaves, was named Album of the Year by Tiny Mix Tapes and appeared on numerous best-of lists.
Ian is Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Michigan‘s School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He previously served on faculties of Purchase College, Stony Brook University, 92nd Street Y, Henry Street Settlement, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Ian has recorded over 40 albums for the Nonesuch, Kairos, Warp, Tzadik, Carrier, Social Registry, Populist, Distributed Objects, Planaria, Sockets, Hot Cup, Quiet Design, and Three One G record labels, among others. He has also performed with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, SEM Ensemble, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Albany Symphony, Boston Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonettia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and worked with composers, conductors, and soloists such as Seigi Ozawa, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yefim Bronfman, Helmut Lachenmann, Enno Poppe, John Adams, and Kaija Saariaho.
Ian was born in 1981 and grew up in Albany, NY, studying percussion with Richard Albagli and performing with the Empire State Youth Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble. He moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music and study with James Preiss, Duncan Patton, Christopher Lamb, Eric Charleston, and Claire Heldrich. Ian completed his studies with Eduardo Leandro at Stony Brook University. Ian holds a B.M. from the Manhattan School of Music and an M.M. and D.M.A. from Stony Brook University. He has also attended the Tanglewood Music Center and Yellow Barn festivals. At Night Music publishes Ian’s music, including solos for marimba, percussion ensembles, and audition pieces. Ian proudly plays with Pearl/Adams instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and Black Swamp accessories.