Ethan Setiawan

Middlebury, IN (Mandolin)


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Ethan Setiawan, 18, has been playing the mandolin for 5 years, and is currently studying Mandolin Performance at Berklee College of Music. A talent that Ethan wishes he had is blacksmithing. The one musician, alive or dead, that Ethan would like to meet is John McGann, a former mandolin professor at Berklee who passed away suddenly a few years ago. He explains, “I had heard a ton of good things about him, and had hoped to study with him.” Ethan’s happiest musical experience, so far, occurred last year. He explains, “One of my happiest musical endeavors was hosting a show at Ignition Garage, a wonderful venue in my hometown of Goshen last May. I was fortunate to have a killer band, comprised of my former teacher Don Stiernberg, member of the Steel Wheels Jay Lapp, and my bandmate from Theory Expats, Sadie Gustafson-Zook. The show functioned as a sort of recital, marking my graduation from high school and my departure for Berklee. Plenty of fans I had made over the past several years of playing in that city came out that night, which made for a really fun show.”

There are many musicians that influence Ethan, including Vulfpeck, Julian Lage, Jacob Joliff, Charlie Parker, and Brad Mehldau. In other musicians, Ethan most values those that play whatever the music desires, as dictated by an ear that is always open and listening. His advice for younger musicians is, “Assuming you’re practicing a ton, listen to as much music as possible, but listen attentively. Pick one artist every week, and listen to them every day that week.” This is Ethan’s second time at AMS, and he is most looking forward to absorbing everything that goes on at the event. Ethan explains, “Between practicing masterclasses and concerts, it can be hard to take everything in. Being more present and mindful is what it comes down to.”

Below is a video of Ethan performing Elm composed by Richie Beriach:

Be sure to check out Ethan and all of the AMS musicians at the Lucas Theatre on April 8 at the Stringband Spectacular!

Stay tuned to meet more AMS musicians!