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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. Somehow tonight was a great audience for it. I’ll work more at tomorrow’s concert to encourage questions from people and see what happens.

  • Cantrell – Cradle Waltz
  • Chopin – Nocturne Op 15 No 2
  • Chopin – Nocturne Op 15 No 3
  • Brahms – Ballade Op 10 No 4

  • Cantrell – Three Places
  • Brahms – Intermezzo Op 117 No 2
  • Brahms – Intermezzo Op 117 No 1
  • Chopin – Ballade No 3

This same program I’ve been tinkering with continues to please me, so I think I’ll keep the same basic idea going through tomorrow’s concert. Then I want to take a little hiatus from these — probably until well into November — so I can immerse myself in composing this set of dances I’ve been working on. I now have a pretty clear picture of the whole thing, and find myself full of ideas and energy for bringing it about!

Update [Oct 8]: Oops! I listed the program wrong; it’s corrected now.



This was my second Zo concert, both were extraordinarily enjoyable–kind of a group meditation session with an intense, musical object to focus on. The low lighting contributed to this effect.

This second event was different in that David (I hope I got that name right) asked some interesting questions, prompting Paul to revisit some of the themes of the piece just played. There were also some historical/biographical insights offered regarding the composers, etc. I really enjoyed these discussions, and encourage you, Paul, to include a few such comments about things that are interesting to you, even without prompting from the audience.

Thanks Paul, for the great music, and for the chance to mingle with some of your interesting friends.


Sadie Bowman

I commend you, Paul, for implementing such a unique and human custom. I love the idea of art as a personal gesture and a personal space of being. It’s a rare thing for someone to invite friends, acquaintances and strangers into their home simply to share their work with them. It was the ultimate indulgence of art for art’s sake.

It was so refreshing and invigorating to spend an evening purely and simply with “The Music” in a coccoon-like atmosphere with no distractions. Again, a very rare activity in this culture. You have a very expressive manner, and from my vantage point I was lucky enough to be able to see the nuances of your physicality in your relationship to the instrument. It is most interesting, moving –and again–rare to get the chance to see a human being allow themselves to fully engage themselves with something so private and personal as music. You are obviously very committed to your art, and I admire both that fact in itself and your initiative to invite others into it.

And I hope everyone Googled Franz Liszt this morning.


Sadie Bowman
Rebecca Noran

Paul: This was my first Zo and I really enjoyed the concert – the intimate setting makes it so unique and the length was just right. Thank you for inviting us into your home and delivering a dynamic performance! I still marvel as to how that piano fit throught the door.

As Rich mentioned, it would work for you to bring up some aspects of the songs, composers, etc. that interest you without prompting fromt he audience, and that might help facilitate conversation. Not being an expert on music I don’t feel i had music-related questions that would really facilitate discussion, but I do like to hear fun facts about a composer or piece – especially anythign you have to say about a piece you composed. Not too much talk, though, of course!

Although you very handily printed out programs for us, I also would have liked to hear the names of the songs before you begin them, just so i could be sure i had the write composer name and piece title in my head as I listened to them so i could better recall that info later. I know you are concerned with the flow of one piece to the next, though, so you should stick to your gut on what makes a good performance.

Where does the name Zo come from?

Rebecca Noran
Rebecca Noran

please excuse the typos in the above – I am not as careful in blog-style postings as I am in other aspects of my life :)

Rebecca Noran

Thanks to all three of you for your awesome comments! Wow! You all can post in my blog any time you want.

Don’t worry about the typso, Rebecca. There’s an explanation of the name “Zo” in the FAQ, towards the end.

I did search for Liszt, but I didn’t find anything to contribute to the compelling story Sadie remembered: that the tradition of having the pianist’s profile to the audience started with Liszt.