A protégé of renowned percussion vanguard John Bergamo and longtime student of tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Randy Gloss is a percussionist whose background performing several modalities of hand drums, contemporary percussion, and drum set has led to his involvement in many innovative ensembles that fuse world music with new music and jazz. Most notably for his work with Hands On’Semble, a percussion group devoted to the art of hand drumming, created by John Bergamo in 1997 (with Randy Gloss, Andrew Grueschow, and Austin Wrinkle).
Hands On'Semble has performed and lectured throughout North and 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, Pete Lockett, Poovalur Sriji, Adam Rudolph, Houman Pourmehdi, Brad Dutz, Abbos Kosimov, Glen Velez, Jamey Haddad, Steve Shehan, Mark Nauseef, Ed Mann, Carlos Stasi and Guello. Percussionists and critics worldwide have praised Hands On’Semble’s recorded work (five albums to date), as being some of the most important and interesting of its kind.
Hands On’Semble also garnered the attention of acclaimed film composer Harry Gregson-Williams, who recruited the group to provide percussion for his soundtrack to the Disney film Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. The following year, he brought Hands On’Semble back to provide the percussion for the Universal/Dreamworks film Cowboys and Aliens.
In addition to being a founding member of Hands On’Semble, Randy was a driving force in the ensemble, having written many of the group’s compositions, organizing, producing and arranging tours, albums, grants, endorsements, and projects throughout the group’s extensive history. Ultimately, taking leave from the ensemble in the Fall of 2021. In those 24 years though, Hands On’Semble accomplished a tremendous amount out of very little, and afforded Gloss the percussion adventure of a lifetime on a global scale. Randy has more recently released a percussion duo album with Pete Lockett (Stones in the Yard) in 2020, as well as a solo percussion album for Orenda Records in 2015-16 (The Ayes Have It Vol. I, Self Portraits in Percussion), with a follow up Volume II to be released soon.
Randy has also worked with an extensive array of world renowned artists including: reggae superstar Ziggy Marley (on the Grammy winning album Fly Rasta); violin icon L. Shankar (Shenkar); pianist Larry Karush; The Lian Ensemble (including the Pangea Project with Djivan Gasparyan and Swapan Chaudhuri; and the 2009 UCLALive production of Medea starring Annette Bening); percussionist Adam Rudolph’s “Go: Organic Orchestra” and world percussion group Vashti; projects with slide veena virtuoso Chitravina Ravikiran (including a concert tour of India that also featured Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto and master Ghanaian drummer Alfred Ladzekpo); a Balkan/Indian collaboration with maestros Aashish Khan, Swapan Chaudhuri, Miroslav Tadic, Vlatko Stefanovski; Romanian pan flute virtuoso Damian Draghici; overtone singer David Hykes; Turkish musician Latif Bolat; Vinny Golia’s Large Ensemble; pianist Ardeshir Rohani; flautist Nicole Mitchell, pianist Dan Siegel, and South Indian percussionist Poovalur Sriji to name only some. Randy has also contributed percussion for film soundtracks by composers Danny Elfman, Harry Gregson-Williams, and Gary Chang; for television series’ such as Fear Factor; video games such as Uncharted 3 for Sony Play Station; recorded music for the American Conservatory Theater; Southwest Chamber Music (Lou Harrison); and has recorded several extensive percussion sample libraries for software companies such as: Apple (Garage Band), Ilio, and Native Instruments.
Gloss has performed worldwide at international music festivals such as: International Oud Festival of Jerusalem; Tahiti Guitar Festival; PercPan, Ritmos de Terra, the International Music Festival of Belo Horizonte, and Encontro Internacional de Percussão in Brazil; World Drum Festival in Hamburg Germany; The Taiwan International Drum Festival, the Tainan Chi-Hsi Int’l Arts Festival – Int’l Drummers Gala and the Hsin Chu International Folk Drum Festival in Taiwan; Percussive Arts Society International Conventions (PASIC); Angel City Jazz Festival; Seattle World Rhythm Festival; Watts Tower Day of the Drum Festival; the Different Drummer Festival, and numerous PAS “Days of Percussion” including New York City, Southern California, Central California, Northern California, Southern Oregon, Utah, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Nevada, as well as performances at venues such as The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, Royce Hall, Skirball Cultural Center, Getty Center, The Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles, Siri Fort Auditorium and National Center for Performing Arts in India, SESC Sao Paulo, Sergio Magnani Music Hall Fundação de Educação Artística in Brazil, and in Canada at Outremont Theatre in Montreal and Convocation Hall in Toronto.
Randy Gloss is faculty at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, California where he has taught since the late 90’s, overseeing the MFA World Percussion Program (since 2007); from 2015-2020 was the Director of World Music Performance Programs; and 2018-2021 the recipient of the Michel Columbier Performer-Composer Chair at CalArts. Additionally, Randy has taught at UCLA and LA Music Academy (LAMA), and has been a visiting artist/lecturer/clinician at many universities, music schools and conservatories in the U.S. and abroad.
Randy Gloss endorses LP Latin Percussion; Remo drumheads; Innovative Percussion drumsticks, brushes and mallets; Paiste cymbals and gongs; and Cooperman frame drums.
M.F.A. Multi-Focus Percussion, California Institute of the Arts, 1997.
B.M. Percussion Performance and Jazz Studies, University of Bridgeport, 1993.
Teachers have included: John Bergamo, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Poovalur Sriji, Houman Pourmehdi, Guello, Carlos Stasi, Edson Gianesi, Alfred Ladzekpo, I Nyoman Wenten, Victor Rendon, Richard Hill, David Johnson, Daniel Kennedy, Michael Lipsey, Arthur Lipner, Warren Odze, Pete Abbott, Jim Mola, Buddy Ostapowitz, Wadada Leo Smith, Brian Torff, Rajeev Taranath.
Among Randy’s accolades:
"one of America's great percussion virtuosi" - Dr. N. Scott Robinson, Percussive Notes
"Randy Gloss' work on pandeiro (Afro-Brazilian tambourine) was one of the most amazing demonstrations of concentrated virtuosity I've ever seen."-Greg Burk, metaljazz.com
“Randy Gloss's maneuvering of his frame drum had to be seen to be believed…”-Mina Silverstone, salamworldwide.com
“Bergamo was successful at creating his own pool of students that went on to professional careers, most notably Randy Gloss who remains a highly innovative frame drummer.”-Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Volume II Performance and Production, N. Scott Robinson Ph.D.
"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
Multiple recipient of Drum! Magazine Reader’s Poll Award for Best Percussion Ensemble in 2003 and 2002, runner up in 2001 and 2012, and 2007 for Best Percussion Album
“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
“...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