Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan is an ensemble of eight professional Canadian musicians
with classical western musical training and extensive performance experience who perform and
record on an extended gamelan Degung. A Gamelan is an orchestra composed primarily of
percussion instruments including bronze gongs, gong chimes, metallophones, xylophones
and wooden barrel-shaped drums. Often a bamboo flute, strings and voices join them too.
Collectively these instruments are known as a gamelan, of which there are many types of regional
variants in Indonesia. One of the types is called Degung, which is a particular type of
gamelan indigenous to the region of West Java, Indonesia. It has its own special instrumentation,
repertoire and five-tone tuning: roughly Ab-G-Eb-Db-C, in the case of Evergeen Club's Degung.
The sonorous bronze instruments of Evergreen Club's gamelan Degung were made in Java by the
noted gong smith Pa Tentrem of Surakarta. They are supported by instrument stands made of
Canadian hard maple, which were designed and built by members of Evergreen Club.
Founded in 1983 and based in Toronto, Canada, Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan is a
unique performing ensemble dedicated to the development and expansion of its repertoire through
the commissioning of new works by composers from Canada and around the world, as well
as performing traditional Sundanese pieces. The more than 200 works written for Evergreen Club
highlight both gamelan and 'gamelan-plus', which describe works which include guest soloists,
guest ensembles, solo and ensemble dance, or auxiliary media such as film, electro-acoustic
media, etc. The resulting repertoire reflects a particular Canadian intermingling of cultural
sensibilities within a global perspective - primarily drawing on Sundanese (West Javanese)
musical traditions and those of Europe and the Americas.
Evergreen Club's numerous concert appearances have delighted audiences within Canada, the
United States, Western Europe, Japan and Indonesia. In performance and on CD recordings,
Evergreen Club has presented world premières for gamelan and gamelan-plus by leading
composers such as John Cage, James Tenney, Gilles Tremblay, Walter Boudreau, Lou Harrison,
Burhan Sukarma, Jon Siddall and John Wyre among many others.
Apart from its numerous CDs, Evergreen Club can be heard on the soundtracks of the films The Ice
Storm (M. Danna / Ang Lee); Antoine Fischer (M. Danna / Denzel Washington) and Balifilm (Peter
Mettler: film and live music). The eight members of Evergreen Club are as follows:
Richard Sacks holds a masters degree in percussion from SUNY Stony Brook. He performs with
Arraymusic, The Glass Orchestra, New Music Concerts, the Canadian Opera Co., Tapestry New
Opera, the Evergreen Club Gamelan and others. He has toured extensively throughout Europe and
Asia. Recent dance collaborations include the acclaimed White Snake Ballet (Xing Dance Company),
pieces for Marie-Josee Chartier for première in Singapore, for Peter Chin at the NAC and
'Art in Open Spaces' with Jessica Runge. He has performed with Robert Desrosiers, Dancemakers,
Le Groupe de la Place Royale, Bill James and Toronto Dance Theatre. His own performance pieces
mix percussion, theatre and movement in unique ways for soloist and large ensemble.
Paul Houle has a career as international performing artist, master educator, and workshop
facilitator. Through his company, 'BOOM!', he presents global percussion workshops which are
individually designed for corporations, educational and community organizations. He is on
faculty at the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music and has developed innovative programmes for
'Learning through the Arts TM' since its inception. His performance career includes work for
many orchestras and chamber music groups as well as radio and television. He performs globally
with the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan and John Wyre's World Drum Orchestra.
Andrew Timar has been active in Toronto's New Music and World Music scenes since the 1970s
as a composer, musician, teacher, arts administrator and as founding editor of MUSICWORKS
magazine. He has founded several groups whose focus is the development and performance of
contemporary concert music, often including multimedia elements, and has composed for,
performed and recorded with a number of Toronto-based groups, including Musicdance
Orchestra, New Music Co-op, Critical Band, and New Music Concerts. Over the past twenty years
he has made his mark as a suling (Indonesian bamboo ring flute) and gamelan player, concert
organizer and teacher. As a suling and gamelan performer, he has been active throughout Canada,
Europe, Japan and Indonesia, and served as the Artistic Director of Evergreen Club Contemporary
Gamelan from 1987 to 1990.
Mark Duggan is a versatile performer and composer, comfortable in many genres. As a
performer, he has appeared with a variety of ensembles, including Toronto New Music Concerts,
Continuum Contemporary Music, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, the Esprit Orchestra,
the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony and the Art of Time Ensemble. He
is also a founding member of the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan (since 1983) which has
performed throughout Canada, Europe, Asia and the United States. He is a graduate of the
master's program in world percussion at the California Institute of the Arts, and has performed in
a wide spectrum of musical contexts, appearing with the Philip Glass Ensemble, the percussion
group Nexus and the Ensemble Intercontemporain de Paris directed by Pierre Boulez.
Blair Mackay (Artistic Director) began his career in 1976 in Montreal playing jazz and fusion
music, while studying classical percussion with Pierre Beluse, and Robert Leroux. Since then, his
eclectic performance career as percussionist and drummer has been highlighted in a wide range of
musical contexts. In 1988 he completed his Master of Music degree in performance at the
University of Toronto. He frequently performs for radio, television and film soundtracks, as well
as performing and recording with many orchestras and small ensembles. As a soloist, he has
given first performances of new works for drumset and percussion in a variety of contemporary,
instrumental contexts and has been a featured soloist at festivals in Mexico City, Montreal and
Toronto, and on CBC national radio. Since 1992 he has been artistic director of the Evergreen Club
The performance experience of the guitarist Bill Parsons encompasses jazz, improvised, concert,
popular, and world music. As a composer and arranger he has worked within a wide range of
musical settings from jazz and concert music to interdisciplinary works with film-makers,
photographers, theatre directors, and choreographers. He also writes poetry, lyrics, and has cowritten
a screenplay. At present he performs locally and internationally with Evergreen Club
Ryan Scott is an acclaimed marimba and multi-percussion soloist. He performs regularly as a
solo and chamber musician across Canada and throughout the world. He also plays with the
Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, the Esprit Orchestra, the
Bob Becker Ensemble, The Composers' Orchestra, New Music Concerts, Soundstreams Canada,
Ensemble Noir, con.Takt, and with the violist Rivka Golani. He has been recorded numerous times
for CBC national radio and for hatART, Naxos, CMC and CBC recording labels. He also plays in an
innovative new duo ArpaTambora, with his wife, the harpist Sanya Eng.
Graham Hargrove is a Toronto-based percussionist. He studied with Salvador Ferreras at the
University of Victoria and with Russell Hartenberger and Beverly Johnston at the University of
Toronto. He has performed throughout Canada, Europe and Asia with contemporary music
ensembles and with modern dance. He performed over 400 shows as a marimbist in the Toronto
production of Disney's The Lion King. His duet album Reinventions with the Toronto percussionist
Nicholas Coulter is heard frequently on CBC radio.