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Category: Zo

Report from Zo Labs

The experiment: Greg Schaffner posted an interesting comment in which he suggested using improvisations as segues between pieces. I thought that sounded fun, so at two concerts yesterday, I put improvs — completely spontaneous, no planning — between all the pieces within each set. And, to make it all as spontaneous as possible, I had the audience draw the names of pieces to determine the order.

The results: We had a good time. None of the improvs were really outstanding, but they worked well enough…

Zo for Oct 8

Tonight was a pleasantly social concert. My fellow composer Matthew (from the Composers’ Syndicate) brought his whole family over, making this the first Zo Family Night ever. His kids, who are great in general, were a great audience, and drew some awesome pictures while I was playing. And I had the pleasure of introducing Matthew’s wife Lauren, who illustrates picture books, to the wonder that is the

Zo for Oct 7

I thought it was only going to be a crowd of five tonight, but Dave J. brought two friends at the last minute. It’s gratifying to have a full house!

People were in a chatty mood (or maybe I was, and it rubbed off), which lead to a few questions about the music. I wonder how I can encourage people to ask more? I enjoy explaining things (although I’m not always good at it) and showing off my favorite spots in the music, but it’s hard to get the ball rolling. When everybody’s been very quiet and listening intently for so long, they’re not always quick to speak up and throw questions out…

Zo for Oct 2

Well, I did mess with the program after all.

  • Cantrell – Cradle Waltz
  • Brahms – Intermezzo Op 116 No 4
  • Brahms – Intermezzo Op 117 No 2
  • Chopin – Ballade No 3

  • Cantrell – Three Places
  • Chopin – Nocturne Op 15 No 2
  • Chopin – Nocturne Op 15 No 3
  • Brahms – Ballade Op 10 No 4

Tonight’s particularly charming audience got a little tour of the piano’s innards, which was fun. And the new “greatest distance award” goes…

Zo for Sep 30

Tonight’s group skipped out on the presidential debate tonight to come hear the piano. Oh brave audience, forsaking the national dialogue for a little music! Here’s a recording of the debate in case you missed it. (I listened to about half the debate later on, and was impressed with Kerry, who was very articulate and clear-headed.)

  • Cantrell – Cradle Waltz
  • Chopin – Nocturne Op 15 No 2
  • Chopin – Nocturne Op 15 No 3
  • Brahms – Ballade Op…

Zo o'clock and all's well (Wed Sep 1)

Tonight was a satisfying finish to the week’s little mad rush, and the first full house of this round. The fellow who rebuilt my piano, and made it the great instrument it is, was here tonight. It was the first time he’d heard it since I bought it. I hope he saw how well-loved it is!

  • Schumann – Bunte Blätter 6
  • Bach – Sinfonia 5
  • Cantrell – Cradle Waltz
  • Cantrell – Entropic Waltz
  • Carei Thomas – Fragrance XIV: Cjalme
  • Brahms – Intermezzo Op 116 No 4
  • Chopin –

Zo: It's not just for dinner anymore (Sun, Aug 29)

Today’s afternoon concert went well, and the sun came out in time to warm the apartment a little for the show. Several fellow composers came today (yay!), so I made it the program a little Cantrell-heavier — I’ve always wanted them to be able to hear my pieces on my own instrument. I hope the more contemporary program didn’t put off my non-composer guests. (It seemed not to….) My hope is that the music all fits together well enough and I sustain the musical energy enough to make the old/new distinctions not seem that apparent, or that important.

  • Cantrell – Three Places…

Zo-tastic (Fri, Aug 27)

I’m very happy with tonight’s concert — the best Zo yet, I think. The piano was sounding great, and most pieces went well — several about as well as I’ve ever played them. None of yesterday’s muddle-headedness (what was that about, anyway?). The audience seemed to be right with me the whole time — Carei actually laughed out loud after Entropic (messy though it was), and they all seemed pleased afterwards … at least I think so, though I’ll let them speak for themselves by posting comments below (hint hint).

Shirley & Tom Kysilko have the distinction of being my first repeat…

Zo for Thursday, August 26

A small but fun audience tonight for Zo. I was foggy the whole way through – losing focus often, lots of memory glitches – but my listeners were very forgiving. Entropic was botchy beyond repair (will I ever learn the darned thing?!) but the ballade went well, which is encouraging – it’s been a long, long time since I worked up something really virtuosic for a concert … not since college, in fact. I may get the hang of these things yet.

Here’s what I played:

  • Brahms - Waltz Op 39 No 15
  • Bach - Sinfonia 5…