Community is what makes Ethan Setiawan tick. Music can take on many faces, and for the Indiana born, Boston based musician and mandolinist that face is creative collaboration with others. For Setiawan, the passion lies in the synergy that happens when a group of unique individuals come together. The combination of vulnerability, courage, and openness that collaboration requires is intoxicating. This search for the next border and the experiences that create this space is central to Setiawan's work.
While first and foremost an acoustic mandolin player, Setiawan also performs on mandocello and electric mandolin. He won the 2014 National Mandolin Championship, performed on NPR syndicate A Prairie Home Companion in 2015, and participated in Savannah Music Festival’s Acoustic Music Seminar in 2015 and 2016. Ethan has performed at venues such as Club Passim, Red Wing Roots Music Festival, Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Walnut Valley Festival, and the Savannah Music Festival. These days, you can find Ethan dividing his time between Boston, where he attends Berklee College of Music on a full ride scholarship, and his home community of Goshen, Indiana. He can be seen performing with OctoPladd, The Leafless, Mutual Kumquat, Sadie Gustafson-Zook, and Fugue Mill.
“Ethan Setiawan is a student of mine of whom I am most proud.”
- Don Stiernberg
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Ethan Setiawan will be one of the major forces on the mandolin in the next 50 years.”
- Jacob Jolliff
"You’re pretty cool, man!"
- Julian Lage
“I am so amazed at Ethan and his talent.”
- Ted Yoder
“Setiawan is an amazing, innovative, and flexible player, moving easily between genres of folk, bluegrass, and jazz.”
- Les Gustafson-Zook
"Is Ethan's piece modern atonal bluegrass, or was I having trouble with my tablet?"
- one of many perplexed listeners
"A skilled mandolin player in and outside the rodeo."
- Dan Klingsberg