As a music major at PSU we can offer you three main non-Western music ensembles to join: Taiko, Javanese Gamelan, and our Laptop Ensemble. Known for their inclusive attitude and unique style, these ensembles provide an alternative large ensemble environment for PSU music students and non-majors alike.


Taiko drummer in performance


The PSU School of Music’s Taiko ensemble teaches students a unique form of post WWII Japanese drumming. Whether hosting a performance with the Japanese Studies department or playing at a PSU fundraising event, this group of both music and non-music majors enchants audiences.

There is no audition process for the Taiko ensemble. Taught by rote (a new experience for many music majors), participation requires an eagerness to learn and an enthusiasm for the music. Led by Wynn Kiyama, this ensemble performs 1-3 times per quarter.

Gamelan student in performance

Javanese Gamelan

One of PSU School of Music’s newest groups is the Gamelan ensemble. A non-Western music offering, this Javanese style of music ensemble was formed at Portland State following a generous donation of an instrument set for students to use.

As a music major, you will rehearse weekly with community members and perform several times per quarter in various concert series and University events. Because of the nature and size of Gamelan ensemble instruments, there is no at-home practice required. All skill levels are welcome.

Laptop Ensemble student in performance

S.A.M.P.L.E - The PSU Laptop Ensemble

Laptop Ensemble is an ensemble of humans, laptops, controllers, and speakers. Ensemble members both compose and perform in the ensemble, exploring computer-mediated instrument design, sound synthesis, programming, and live interactive performance.