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Vinny Golia

Los Angeles, CA   

Vinny Golia is a Bronx-born composer, performer, and bandleader who has been a fixture of the West Coast Avant-Garde music community since the 1970s. Golia plays over 50 woodwind instruments, as well as gongs and singing bowls.

A tireless experimenter and boundary-pusher, Golia has formed many ensembles varying dramatically in size and instrumentation. These range from mixed quintets, saxophone quartets, sextets, and duos, to arrangements for jazz and classical orchestras. Golia’s acclaimed Large Ensemble, formed in 1982, was called “some of the most creative and compelling music being done in the U.S. today” by Cadence Magazine. After growing to 60+ members in recent years, the group also performs as the Vinny Golia New Music Orchestra, and is working to present a 2020 concert of 75 to 100 musicians. 

With a discography that encompasses over 160 albums to date, Golia releases new recordings regularly, both as bandleader and as a member of others’ ensembles. He also composes for Ballet, Modern Dance, Video, Theatre, and Film. Golia’s compositions are designed to create interplay between structured compositional elements and guided group improvisations.  He has won numerous awards as a composer, including grants from The National Endowment of the Arts, Meet the Composer, The Lila Wallace Commissioning Program, The California Arts Council,  Clausen Foundation of the Arts, Funds for U.S. Artists, and the American Composers Forum.

Golia’s genre-transcending approach to music has led to him playing with luminaries from diverse music worlds including Jazz, New Music, Classical, Punk and World Music. He has been a featured performer with Anthony Braxton, Henry Grimes, John Carter, Bobby Bradford, Joelle Leandre, Leo Smith, Horace Tapscott, John Zorn, Tim Berne, Bertram Turetzky, George Lewis, Barre Phillips, The Rova Saxophone Quartet, Patti Smith, Harry “the Hipster” Gibson, Eugene Chadburne, Kevin Ayers, Peter Kowald, John Bergamo, George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennick, Lydia Lunch, Harry Sparrney and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra amongst many others. Golia has shared his music with audiences across Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

For the past 20 years, Golia has been a professor at California Institute for the Arts, where in 2009 he was appointed the first holder of the Michel Colombier Performer Composer Chair. He frequently conducts workshops and lectures nationally and internationally on topics such as Jazz History, Improvisation and Graphic Scores.

End Credits to The Serpent’s Lair, by Vinny Golia

The closing credit theme to a movie called The Serpent’s Lair.
Vinny Golia: “I wrote this piece to feature myself on contra alto clarinet, and also to feature many of the other musicians who played on the score. It’s in a modulating time cycle and has an unusual harmonic progression.”

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Washroom, by Vinny Golia

From the score to a movie called The Pass.

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The Harder Blues, by Vinny Golia

“The Harder Blues is a piece for Bb saxophone ensemble. The concept of this ensemble was to work with saxophones with the same fundamental pitch so the overtones of each instrument involved would blend more, as opposed to the traditional saxophone quartet where the overtones are not matched by fundamental.”
-Vinny Golia

From the album Vinny Golia ‎– Music For Like Instruments: The Bb Saxophones (Nine Winds Records).

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