Biography

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Hands On’Semble is a contemporary percussion ensemble devoted to the art of hand drumming founded by renowned percussion vanguard John Bergamo in 1997 (with Randy Gloss, Andrew Grueschow, and Austin Wrinkle). Born out of the Percussion and World Music programs at CalArts at that time, Hands On’Semble has come to define the state of world percussion on the West Coast.

“A Stellar percussion group…extraordinary soloing, and extensive palette of sounds.” 
-Modern Drummer

“Hands On’Semble plays music that is pure 21st century California, the fulcrum where the whole planet meets.” 
-World Rhythm Magazine

Drum! Magazine Reader’s Poll Award Winner Best Percussion Ensemble in 2003 and 2002,
runner up in 2001 and 2012, and 2007 for Best Percussion Album

Hands On’Semble has performed and lectured throughout the United States, South America, Europe, and Asia at many of the world’s premier percussion and world music festivals, music schools and conservatories, and have collaborated in performance and recording with a wide array of highly esteemed percussion artists from around the world including: Swapan Chaudhuri, Poovalur Sriji, Houman Pourmehdi, Adam Rudolph, Brad Dutz, Abbos Kosimov, Pete Lockett, Glen Velez, Jamey Haddad, Steve Shehan, Mark Nauseef, Ed Mann, Carlos Stasi, and Guello.
Percussionists and critics worldwide have praised their recorded work (five albums to date), as being some of the most important and interesting of it’s kind.

“John Bergamo, Austin Wrinkle, Randy Gloss, and Andrew Grueschow succeeded in presenting a CD clearly ranking among the most interesting percussion CD’s of the last ten years.”
-Percussion Creativ, Germany

“This just might be the best percussion recording ever made. The drumming is of such a high quality that this CD is on my short list of the CDs I can recommend to any drummer or percussionist. It is one of those rare CDs that is wonderful to list to, and also can be played over and over in order to learn new rhythms and compositional forms… Every drummer should own this CD.”  
-percussionmusic.com

“Some percussion groups might err on the side of the clinical, technical, or avant-garde, but the Hands On’Semble makes sure that everything grooves. It’s fascinating and exhilarating to hear such great players work this fusion out. “
–Modern Drummer

“The Hands On’Semble always creates music with excellent energy and interesting colors and textures. The music is never so esoteric as to be elitist or incomprehensible, it always grooves. As great as the music is, it is an excellent resource for listeners to be exposed to and learn about percussion traditions from around the world.”
-Percussive Notes, The Journal of the Percussive Arts Society

“If you have the slightest interest in hand drumming you must have this CD, if you are interested in drumming, rhythm, timing, creating interesting beats and expanding your soloing capabilities
this is a must have CD.”

-jazzreview.com and thelivemusicreport.com

“The group’s expertise has always been a blending of rhythmic compositional forms and techniques from a wide array of world drumming traditions, while at the same time bridging these various instruments/traditions into a unique, seamless musical amalgam. This is their most developed and mature album todate. Get your hands on this CD!”
-Percussive Notes, The Journal of the Percussive Arts Society

With the retirement of John Bergamo back in 2004 (and later with his passing in 2013), Hands On’Semble forged forward, continuing to grow and explore, embarking on their most prolific period which included many extensive collaborations with highly esteemed guest artists while at the same time remaining most active and vital as the core trio continuing to develop, compose, perform, record, lecture, and research as the group has always done, with a renewed sense of purpose.

In 2010, Hands On’Semble garnered the attention of acclaimed film composer Harry Gregson-Williams, who recruited the group to provide the “ethnic percussion” to his soundtrack to the Disney film Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. The following year, Gregson-Williams brought Hands On’Semble back to provide their palette of sounds, colors, and percussion for his soundtrack to the Universal/ Dreamworks film Cowboys and Aliens.

In November 2012, Hands On’Semble released their fifth album, Cinco Sobre Três – Fünf Über Drei, which has become widely regarded by critics as “their most developed and mature album to date” (Percussive Notes). That same month the group’s founder John Bergamo was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.

Hands On’Semble remains active performing and teaching, and are currently working on new material for concerts and what will be their sixth album.

Hands On’Semble is: Randy Gloss, Andrew Grueschow, Austin Wrinkle


Hands On’Semble has performed and/or lectured at the following:

Festivals:

6th Encontro Internacional de Percussão at the Conservatorio de Tatui, Brazil, 2014
Second International Music Festival of Belo Horizonte Brazil (II FIM) 2014
PAS Southern California Day of Percussion Cal Sate Univ. Long Beach 2013, 2001
CalArts World Music and Dance Festival, 2012, 2008.
Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) 2015, 2012, 2008, 2006, 2003, 2001, 1999
PAS Central California Day of Percussion at CSU Fresno, 2012, 2006
CSU Sacramento Day of Percussion 2011, 2001
Chapman University Percussion Symposium, California 2011, 2008
4th Encontro Internacional de Percussão at the Conservatorio de Tatui, Brazil, 2009
NAFDA West Frame Drum Festival, California 2009
Percpan 14 Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo Brazil 2007
Taiwan International Drum Festival 2007
Hsin-Chu County International Folkdrum Festival, Taiwan 2006
First International Music Festival of Belo Horizonte Brazil (FIMBH) 2004
Henderson Drum Festival 2004
Ritmos de Terra, Campinas Brazil 2004, 2002, 2000
The Tainan Chi-Hsi Int’l Arts Festival – Int’l Drummers Gala, Taiwan, 2003
PAS Wisconsin Days of Percussion University of Wisconsin Platteville, 2003
PAS Nebraska Day of Percussion University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO), 2003
NYC Day of Percussion, Queens College, 2003
Southern Oregon Day of Percussion at SOU, 2003
The American Orff-Schulwerk Association National Conference, 2002
L.A. Harbor College DrumFest 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998,
World Drum Festival, Hamburg Germany 2000
PAS Northern California Day of Percussion Dominican University San Rafael, California 2000
CalArts Creative Music Festival 2000
Seattle World Rhythm Festival 1999
Watts Tower Day of the Drum Festival 1999
Different Drummer Festival Pasadena, California 1999

Schools (lectures, masterclasses, and/or performances):

Conservatorio de Tatui, Brazil 2014, 2009
Guri Santa Marcelina Program, Sao Paulo Brazil, 2014
School of Music at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte Brazil, 2014, 2004, 2003, 2002
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), 2012, 2008, 2001
California State University Long Beach (CSULB) 2009
Ten Drum Art Percussion Tainan City, Taiwan, 2016, 2007, 2006, 2003
University of North Texas 2005
Southeastern Oklahoma State University 2005
Southern Methodist University, Dallas TX. 2005
Pacific Crest 2004, 2001, 1999
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2003
Eastman School of Music. Rochester NY. 2003
University of Wisconsin Platteville 2003
Universidade Livre de Musica, Centro de Estudos Musicais Tom Jobim, Sao Paulo Brazil, 2003
EM &T (School of Music and Technology), Sao Paulo Brazil, 2003
University of California Irvine 2002
University of Texas at San Antonio 2002
University of Oklahoma 2002
Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches TX. 2002
Del Mar College, Corpus Christi TX. 2002
Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. 2002, 2000
The Juilliard School, New York. 2001
Mannes College of Music, New York. 2001
Queens College, New York. 2001
State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase. 2001
New York University (NYU). 2001
William Patterson University, New Jersey. 2001
University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) 2001.
California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) 2001
Califonia State University Sacramento(CSUS) 2001, 2000, 1999
Sangeet School of World Music and Dance, Los Angeles California 2001, 1998
Hockschulle, Hamburg Germany. 2000
University of the Pacific, Stockton California 1998

Other (theaters, clubs, and performance spaces):

Levitt Pavilion, Pasadena CA, 2015
Blue Whale, Los Angeles CA, 2014, 2013
Art Share LA, 2014
The Wildbeast Pavilion at CalArts, 2014
Sergio Magnani Music Hall, Fundação de Educação Artística, Belo Horizonte Brazil 2014, 2004, 2003, 2002
John Ansen Ford Amphitheater, 2010
Getty Center, 2010
Electric Lodge, Venice California, 2006
Bathouse Cultural Center, Dallas TX. 2005
Philisophical Research Society Los Angeles CA. 2005, 2002, 2001
REDCAT, Los Angeles CA 2004
Red Radish, Blue Lake CA. 2003
A Serenata, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 2003
Maracatu, Rio De Janeiro Brazil, 2003
SESC Santo Andre SP Brazil, 2003
The Loft/ Universal Frame Drum Center, Brattleboro Vermont 2003, 2001
Remo Percussion Center, North Hollywood CA. 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
Houston Percussion Center, Houston TX 2002
Rocco’s in LA, Los Angeles 2002
Livery Theater Ventura CA, 2001
Luna Park Hollywood CA 2001
Clarion Music, San Francisco 2001, 2000, 1999
Knitting Factory, New York 2001
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles CA. 2000
Faultlines at the 24th Street Theater Los Angeles CA. 1999
Fais Do Do Los Angeles CA 1999
Al’s Bar Los Angeles CA 1999
Noisy Toys, Los Angeles CA 1997