John Zorn (b. 9/ 2/53, New York, NY) learned flute, guitar, and piano as a child.
He grew up in a household of sound: his mother listened to classical and world music; his father to jazz, French chansons, and country music; and his older brother to doo-wop, and 50's rock and roll.
Zorn recalled an episode of his life, after buying a record by Mauricio Kagel in 1968 at the age of fifteen, that influenced his subsequent taste for experimental and avant-garde music:]
"Kagel, Improvisation Ajoutée
. I bought this when I was about 15. . . . [G]ot it at Sam Goody in September, for 98 cents. And it's a really crazy piece, with the guys screaming and hooting, something that attracted me. I was over at my friend's house, and he really liked the Rolling Stones. And I just got this record, and I put it on and he looked at me like...who the hell are you? Are you out of your mind? And his mother was there, and she was like . . . my God, take this off... and right then and there, I decided: this was the music.
Zorn spent time in his teenage years listening to classical music, film music, and The Doors, and playing bass in a surf band.
He taught himselforchestration and counterpoint, transcribing scores and composing, a procedure of "plagiarizing, stealing, quoting, or whatever you can call it," of collage and transposition into his own world, that he has been using throughout his career.
Zorn began playing saxophone after discovering Anthony Braxton's album For Alto
(1969) while studying composition at Webster University, St. Louis, MO.
, for five flutes, was written in 1972 and first appeared on Angelus Novus in
While still in college, Zorn incorporated elements of contemporary classical music, free jazz, film scores, performance art and the cartoon scores of Carl Stalling into his first recordings which were later released in 1973.
Following a stint on the West Coast, Zorn moved back to New York. There he gave concerts in his apartment and other small NY venues, playing saxophone and a variety of reeds, duck calls, tapes, and other instruments.
In 1975, he founded the Theatre of Musical Optics, which later became his publishing house, and became a major participant in the downtown music scene as a composer, performer, and producer
Zorn later used the term "Theatre of Musical Optics" for the publishing company of his compositions.
Zorn's early compositions include "game pieces" or "game theories", described as "complex systems harnessing improvisers in flexible compositional formats," which involve "strict rules, role playing, prompters with flashcards, all in the name of melding structure and improvisation in a seamless fashion."
Game pieces are often named after sports, and include Baseball
(1978), and Fencing
The Book of Heads
, 35 etudes for solo guitar written in 1978 for Eugene Chadbourne, was followed by Pool
(1979), and Archery
In 1981, Zorn was "blowing duck calls in buckets of water at fringe
venues," which included 8BC, Roulette, Chandelier, and Zorn's own
clubhouse, the Saint.
Zorn's first solo saxophone and duck call recordings were originally
released in two volumes as The Classic Guide to Strategy
in 1983 and
1986 on Lumina. Zorn's early small group improvisations are
documented on Locus Solus
(1983) which featured Zorn with Anton Fier, Wayne Horvitz, Arto
Lindsay, Christian Marclay, and Ikue Mori.
His best-known game piece is Cobra
(1984), first released in 1987 and subsequently in 1992, 1994, and 2002, with many further revisions in performance.
featured a series of duets by Zorn with Satoh Michihiro on shamisen, which received limited release on Yukon in 1984.
Zorn's breakthrough recording was The Big Gundown: John Zorn Plays the Music of Ennio Morricone
(1985), where Zorn offered radical arrangements of the Italian composer's film music including The Big Gundown
(1966), Once Upon a Time in the West
(1968), A Fistful of Dynamite
(1971), and Once Upon a Time in America
(1984). The album was endorsed by Morricone, who praised it, saying "This is a record that has fresh, good and intelligent ideas. It is realization on a high level, a work done by a maestro with great science-fantasy and creativity... Many people have done versions of my pieces, but no one has done them like this."
Zorn's versions incorporated elements of traditional Japanese music, soul jazz, and other diverse musical genres. The 15th-anniversary re-release of the album featured additional explorations.
Zorn remembers that after "The Big Gundown
came out I was
convinced that a lot of soundtrack work was going to be coming my way".
Hollywood acclaim was not forthcoming, he attracted the attention of
independent filmmakers, the first being
Rob Schwebber for White and Lazy
followed by Sheila McLaughlin's She Must Be Seeing Things
, both in 1986).
That same year, he first released Godard
, a tribute to French film-maker Jean-Luc Godard, whose jump-cut technique inspired Zorn's compositional approach, on the album The Godard Fans: Godard Ca Vous Chante?
Also in 1986 Zorn participated in projects focused on
modern jazz composers which highlighted his saxophone style.
He followed this with his second major-label release Spillane
in 1987, composed of three different tributes. The title track has text by Arto Lindsay, set to an array of film-noir references; Two-Lane Highway
is a blues-based form to highlight the guitar of Albert Collins; and Forbidden Fruit
concludes in homage to a Japanese film star, as performed by the Kronos Quartet.
Zorn credits the composition of his 1988 string quartet Cat O' Nine Tails
commissioned and originally released by Kronos, to
awakening him to the possibilities of writing for classical musicians.
Nevertheless, Zorn established Naked City that year as a "compositional workshop" to test the limitations of the rock band format.
Zorn on saxophone, Bill Frisell (guitars), Fred Frith (bass), Wayne
Horvitz (keyboards), Joey Baron (drums), and occasional vocals from
Yamatsuka Eye, Bob Dorough, and later Mike Patton -- Naked City highlighted Zorn's appreciation of hardcore bands.
Named after a 1945 book of graphic black and white photographs by Weegee
the band performed an aggressive mix of "soundtrack themes, bluesy hard
bop, speedy hardcore rock, squealing free jazz metallic funk."
has stated that "Naked City started with rhythm and blues / Spillane
type things then went into this hard-core thing... because I was living
in Japan and experiencing a lot of alienation and rejection... My
interest in hard-core also spurred the urge to write shorter and shorter
In 1989, the cover of their eponymous album used the Weegee
photograph Corpse with Revolver C.A. 1940
, which shows a gangland
killing. This was directly followed by
, a collection of 42 "hardcore miniatures," intense brief
compositions often lasting less than a minute.
He composed, in 1990 the soundtrack for Raul Ruiz' The Golden
. All aforementioned film scores appeared on Filmworks 1986-1990
along with a 64-second interpretation of The Good, the Bad
and the Ugly
Zorn formed Painkiller, with Bill Laswell on bass and Mick Harris on
drums, in 1991. Painkiller's first two releases, Guts of a Virgin
and Buried Secrets
(1992), featured short grindcore and free
Zorn's second Filmworks
release documented his Music for an Untitled Film by Walter Hill
(1996) which was composed for the film Trespass
Older tracks resurfaced on Naked City's third release, Grand Guignol
(1992), which also
included performances of works by Claude Debussy, Alexander Scriabin,
Orlande de Lassus, Charles Ives, and Olivier Messiaen. At this point, Zorn left Electra Nonesuch after the company's response to the artwork for the album, releasing the remaining Naked City projects on the Japanese-based Avant.
band's subsequent album, Heretic
(1992), featured more short
improvisations, produced for the soundtrack of an underground S/M film
Jeux des Dames Cruelles
. The band released a second EP, Leng Tch'e, in
1992 featuring a single composition which lasted just over half an hour.
As Zorn's interest in Naked City waned he "started hearing classical music in [his] head again. The responses to this included the suites Elegy
(1992) (dedicated to Jean Genet) and
(1993), for strings, percussion, and electronic instruments.
John Zorn recorded Kristallnacht
in November 1992, his first work
of radical Jewish culture, a suite of seven compositions reflecting
the infamous 1938 Night of Broken Glass. The experience prompted Zorn to further explore his Jewish heritage and composing using Jewish musical styles, setting himself the task of writing 100 compositions within a year
incorporating klezmer into his musical palette.
Naked City continued with Radio
, released in 1993, as the first of the group's albums to be composed solely
by Zorn, and featured tracks drawing on a typical wide range of musical
influences: Boredoms, Sammy
Cahn, Carcass, Ornette Coleman, Corrosion of Conformity, Extreme Noise
Terror, Morton Feldman, Funkadelic, Charlie Haden, Bernard Herrmann, Quincy Jones, Carole King, Led Zeppelin, Liberace, Little Feat, Massacre, Charles Mingus, Orchestra Baobab,
Santana, Frank Sinatra, Igor Stravinsky, Booker T. and
the M.G.'s, Conway Twitty, Anton Webern,
and Roger Williams.
recording from Naked City, Absinthe
(1993) was a blend of ambient
noise compositions titled after the works of Paul
Verlaine and Charles Baudelaire, with a dedication to Olivier Messiaen.
Painkiller's first live album, Rituals: Live in Japan
, on Toys Factory, 1993, was followed by the double CD Execution
(1994), which featured longer dub and ambient pieces.
By 1994, the number of short post-Kristallnacht
compositions had grown to 200 and became known as the First Masada Boo
k. Zorn notes:
"The project for Masada was to create something positive in the Jewish
tradition, something that maybe takes the idea of Jewish music into the
21st century the way jazz developed from the teens and 1920's into the 40's, the 50's, the 60's and on. . . . My initial plan was to write 100
tunes in a year that touched upon the Jewish tradition and that was an
interesting challenge. It was really fun as a composer to come home and
write a something that could be finished sometimes in 10 minutes,
sometimes in an hour or sometimes an evening. . . . The Masada
songbook was really something that was like the Irving Berlin songbook
or the Burt Bacharach songbook or the Thelonious Monk songbook. Here's
another lifetime for me. So when I look at what's been accomplished in
the world of Masada
, it's kind of unbelievable. Of course I had no idea
at the times I started. My initial idea was to write a hundred tunes.
And then I ended up writing over 200 for the first book and then
performed it countless time for years."
The initial Masada
releases were ten
albums on DIW from 1994. The eponymous group
(later dubbed the "acoustic" Masada) was an Ornette Coleman-inspired
quartet of Zorn (alto saxophone), Dave Douglas
(trumpet), Greg Cohen (bass), and Joey Baron (drums), performing compositions
based on Sephardic scales and rhythms. The original
albums were titled after the first ten letters of the Hebrew
Alphabet – Alef, Beit, Gimel, Dalet, Hei, Vav, Zayin, Het, Tet and Yod --
and contained compositions with Hebrew titles. Further
releases by Masada consisted of live performances recorded
in Jerusalem, Taipei, Middleheim, Seville, and in New York at the
Knitting Factory and Tonic, and a double CD of unreleased studio
recordings, Sanhedrin 1994-1997
In 1995, in co-operation with jazz producer Kazunori Sugiyama, Zorn
established the Tzadik label to ensure availability of his catalogue and
promote experimental musicians. Zorn said that the label is a way to
shield from the power of the music industry, with "giant corporations
acting like slave masters, like the return of the pharaohs," merging to
get even more powerful like in the Polygram-Universal acquisition; and
to shield from distribution companies like Tower, HMV, and Virgin
Megastores, that are destroying "the small mom and pop stores -- people
that love the music and that’s why they have their store," and from the
insidious pollution of the tastes of the masses, "with brainwashing and
brain-control. These marketing guys who are at the head of all these
companies, they’re really the ones that are spoon-feeding everybody
The label's releases are divided into series:
The Archival Series features Zorn's recordings, including
re-releases of several albums that appeared on other labels, Zorn's film
work, and recordings from 1973 onwards; The Composer Series features Zorn's music for "classical" ensembles along with work by many other contemporary composers; The Radical Jewish Culture Series features contemporary Jewish musicians. The New Japan Series covers Japanese underground music; The Film Music Series features soundtracks by other musicians;
The Oracle Series promotes women in experimental music; The Key Series presents notable avant-garde musicians and projects; The Lunatic Fringe Series releases music and musicians operating outside
of the broad categories offered by other series;] and The Spotlight Series promotes new bands and musical projects of young musicians.
With the establishment of Tzadik, Zorn released many classical composition written over the previous two decades. Redbird
, containing new works for bass drums and a harp/viola/cello/percussion quartet inspired by Agnes Martin, and The Book of Heads
were released that year as part of the Composer Series
Filmworks III: 1990-1995
(1997) featured the first recordings by
the Masada lineup for Joe Chappelle's Thieves Quartet
(1993) along with
early drafts for the Cynical Hysterie Hour
project, duets with Marc
Ribot which featured in Mei-Juin Chen's Hollywood Hotel
(1994), and a
series of commercial soundtracks for the advertising firm Weiden and
Kennedy, including one directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
Filmworks IV: S&M + More
(1997) and Filmworks V: Tears of Ecstasy
(1996) both included music written for films dealing with bondage and discipline, and sadomasochism.
contains the soundtracks to three underground films produced
in 1996; Dina Waxman's Anton, Mailman
, Henry Hills's Mechanics of the
, and Maria Beatty's The Black Glove.
Filmworks VII: Cynical Hysterie Hour
re-released themes that
Zorn produced for a Japanese cartoon. Zorn regained the rights by trading a booking at The Knitting Factory to Sony
(1997) consists of two homages. The first, dedicated to Marguerite Duras, has four movements lasting
roughly 34 minutes, influenced by Oliver
Messiaen; the second, 69 Paroxyms for Marcel Duchamp
, lasts a bit over 13.
Aporias: Requia for Piano and Orchestra
(1998) was Zorn's first full-scale orchestral release featuring pianist
Stephen Drury, the Hungarian Radio Children's Choir and the American
Composers Orchestra conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.
Zorn was quoted in 1998 as saying "Sometimes I get the feeling that
people just don't see me as a composer, but it's what I've always been
since I was eight years old... I've always thought of myself as a
composer, but the world has had a hard time looking at me as a composer
because a lot of what I compose is controversial."
Filmworks VIII: 1997
features music for the
documentary Port Of Last Resort
(1998), which detailed the experiences
of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during the years preceding World
War II, and the soundtrack to the underground film Latin Boys Go to
Further exploration of film noir were recorded for radio plays and released as The Bribe: Variations and Extensions on Spillane
Music for Children
(1998), characterized as Music Romance Volume One,
opens with a polyrhythmic etude for percussion and celeste. It also features
three short Naked City compositions, written at the time of Torture Garden
performed by Zorn with the Boston-based band Prelapse; a composition
for wind machines and feedback dedicated to Edgard Varèse; a classical
chamber piece for violin, percussion and piano; and ends with a music
box-styled lullaby. The second Music Romance
album, Taboo & Exile
, was released in 1999 and featured a similar spectrum of broad styles.
were re-released as a single CD, Godard/Spillane,
on Tzadik in 1999. These pieces are described by Zorn as "file-card compositions," a method
of combining composition and improvisation in which Zorn would write
down a description of what he wanted on file-cards and arrange them to
form the piece.
Cat O' Nine Tails
is featured on The String Quartets
(1999) and Cartoon S/M
(2000), along with Variations on "Kol Nidre"
, inspired by the Jewish prayer of atonement which was written at the same time as (but not part of) the first Masada Book
In 2000, Zorn edited Arcana: Musicians on Music
interviews, essays, and commentaries by Anthony
Coleman, Peter Garland, David Mahler, Bill Frisell, Gerry Hemingway,
George Lewis, Fred Frith, Eyvind Kang, Mike Patton, and Elliott Sharp.
Zorn's next soundtrack work did not appear until this year with Filmworks
IX: Trembling Before G-d
featuring music for an award winning
documentary about gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews trying to reconcile
their sexuality with their faith directed by Sandi Simcha DuBowski.
following year Filmworks X: In the Mirror of Maya Deren
music for a documentary by Martina Kudlacek on the life and work of
underground filmaker Maya Deren.
One of Zorn's most popular albums was the third Music Romance
album, The Gift
(2001), which surprised many with its relaxed blend of surf, exotica, and world music.
Songs from the Hermetic Theatre
(2001) features American Magus
, Beuys Block, In the Very Eye of Night
and The Nerve Key
, Zorn's first computer music. Madness, Love and Mysticism
(2001) featured Le Mômo (after Antonin Artaud), Untitled
, and Amour Fou
(2001) was inspired by Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot
The year 2002 was a very productive one for Zorn's cinematic scores.
Filmworks XI: Secret Lives
(2002) featured the Masada String Trio
performing music for Aviva Slesin's documentary film on Jewish children
hidden from the Nazis.
(2002) included music for three
documentaries; Homecoming: Celebrating Twenty Years of Dance at PS 122; Shaolin Ulysses
, a film about Shaolin Monks in America: and variations
on the theme for Family Found,
a documentary on outsider artist Morton
Zorn released his third soundtrack collection of the year with Filmworks XIII: Invitation to a Suicide
, written for a black
comedy about a man selling tickets to his own suicide to save his
Before year's end -- in addition to a second live Painkiller album, Talisman: Live in Nagoya
-- Zorn recorded Hemophiliac
in 2002 with Mike Patton and Ikue Mori, continuing his interest in hardcore improvisations. The trio's
first release was a limited double-CD set, signed by the performers,
that soon became a highly sought-after collectors item.
At about the time of Naked City's brief re-formation for a
European tour in 2003, the composer described the game pieces process: "I write in moments, in disparate sound blocks, so I find it convenient to store these events on filing cards so they can be sorted and ordered with minimum effort. Pacing is essential. If you move too fast, people tend to stop hearing the individual moments as complete in themselves and more as elements of a sort of cloud effect... I worked 10 to 12 hours a day for a week, just orchestrating these file cards. It was an intense process - one I don't want to go through again."
Zorn's "file-card" method of organizing sound blocks into an overall structure largely depended on the musicians he chose, the way they interpreted what was written on the file cards, and their relationship with Zorn. "I'm not going to sit in some ivory tower and pass my scores down to the players." said Zorn, "I have to be there with them, and that's why I started playing saxophone, so that I could meet musicians. I still feel that I have to earn a player's trust before they can play my music. At the end of the day, I want players to say: this was fun - it was a lot of fucking work, and it's one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it was worth the effort."
Zorn's next two Filmworks
releases featured in documentaries examining Jewish identity and antisemitism. Filmworks XIV: Hiding and Seeking
(2003) provided the soundtrack a documentary about an Orthodox Jewish father attempting to alert his sons of the dangers of creating barriers between themselves and those outside their faith.
In September 2003, Zorn celebrated his 50th birthday with a
month-long series of performances at Tonic, repeating an
event he had begun a decade earlier at the Knitting Factory.
conceptualized the month into several different aspects of his musical
output. Zorn's bands performed on the weekends, classical ensembles were
featured on Sundays, Zorn performed improvisations with other musicians
on Mondays, his extended compositions were featured on Tuesdays, and a
retrospective of game pieces was given on Wednesdays.
albums were released as the 50th Birthday Celebration Series
featured performances by the Masada String Trio, Milford Graves, Locus Solus, Electric Masada, Fred Frithn, Hemophiliac, Masada, Susie Ibrarra, Wadada Leo Smith, Yamataka Eye, the,
Bar Kokhba Sextet, Painkiller, and the Zorn / Patton / Mori trio.
Also in that year, A Tenth Anniversary Series
of Masada recordings was released: five albums
including Masada Guitars
by Marc Ribot, Bill Frisell, and Tim Sparks; Masada
by Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman; Masada Rock
Rashanim; Voices in the
; and The Unknown Masada
In 2004, Zorn began composing the Second Masada Book, The Book of Angels
, resulting in an additional 300 compositions.
"After 10 years of performing the first book, I thought 'Maybe it'd be
nice to write some more tunes.' And I wrote 300 more tunes. When I
started writing those it was 'Let's see if I can write a hundred songs
in a month this time.' I've been working on these scales and playing
these tunes all this time. In the back of my head somewhere are lodged
all kinds of new ideas. Let's see if I can come up with 100 tunes in a
month instead of in a yr. So in the first month, I popped out a hundred
tunes; the second month, another hundred; in the third month, a third
100 tunes. I had no idea that was going to happen."
(2004) includes the Crowley Quartet on Necronomicon: For String Quartet
for two bass clarinets.
Painkiller is featured on Zorn's 50th Birthday Celebration: Volume 12
(2005) with Hamid Drake, replacing Harris on drums, and guest vocalist Mike Patton.
Filmworks XV: Protocols of Zion
(2005) highlights music for a documentary about a resurgence of antisemitism in the United States in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Filmworks XVI: Workingman's Death
(2005) presents themes for a
documentary portraying hazardous employment undertaken in the Ukraine,
Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and China.
, released in 2005, includes Orphée,
performed by a sextet of flute, viola, harp, harpsichord and electronics; Frammenti Del Sappho
for female chorus; and Wulpurgisnacht
for string trio.
(2005) features Zorn's five-movement opera for mezzo soprano and ten instruments, composed for the Bayreuth Festival in 1998.
Zorn was the principal force in establishing The Stone in 2005, an
avant-garde performance space in New York's Alphabet City which supports
itself solely on donations and the sale of limited edition CD's, giving
all door revenues directly to the performers. Zorn holds the title of
artistic director and regularly performs Improvisation Nights.
In 2006, Zorn formed the hardcore voice/bass/drums group of Mike Patton,
Trevor Dunn, and Joey Baron -- which became known as Moonchild Trio. That year two albums of Zorn's compositions performed by the trio were
released: Moonchild: Songs Without Words
(2006) features music for Martina Kudlacek's documentary Notes on Marie Menken
intertwined with Zorn's percussive score for Beth Cataldo's portrait Ray Bandar: A Life with Skulls
. Filmworks XVIII: The Treatmen
t (2006) entails music for Oren Rudavsky's romantic comedy based on the tango music of Astor Piazolla.
The composition of Astronome
dates from this year as well.
The Masada quartet performed at the Lincoln Center for the Performing
Arts in March 2007 for what were billed as their final concerts.
The next month, on April 13 -- Zorn played the final night at Tonic, the
Lower East Side venue where he played regularly for the previous decade,
which closed due to financial pressures.
A third Moonchild album -- featuring Zorn, Ikue Mori, Jamie Saft, and
chorus -- Six Litanies for Heliogabalus
, was also released that year, as well as From Silence to Sorcery
, which includes Goetia,
eight variations for solo violin; Gris-Gris
for 13 tuned drums; and Shibboleth
for clavichord, strings and percussion.
Zorn released the second volume of Arcana: Musicians on Music
summer of 2007. According to the prefac "This second
installment of what will be a continuing series of books presenting
radical, cutting-edge ideas about music is made, like the initial
volume, out of necessity." This follow-up contains
essays bySteve Coleman, David Douglas, Trevor Dunn, Jewlia
Eisenberg, Annie Gosfield, Carla
Kihlstedt, Bill Laswell, Zeena Parkins, Marina Rosenfeld, and Trey
January 10, 2008, found Zorn performing with Lou Reed and Laurie
Anderson at a special benefit night at The Stone, released as The Stone: Issue Three
On February 4, Zorn premiered his work for three cellists 777
, performed by Fred Sherry, Erik Friedlander, and Michael Nicolas at the Guggenheim Museum.
Also premiering that month was Shir Ha-Shirim
, inspired by The Song of Solomon
and performed by an amplified quintet of female singers with female and male
narrators. Anderson and Reed and Laurie
Anderson read the texts in English
A third premiere of the month was The Dreamers
with members of Electric Masada on February 29, at St Anne's Warehouse, Brooklyn.
The next month, on March 27, Columbia University's Miller Theater presented the premiere of The
Prophetic Mysteries of Angels, Witches, and Demons
Filmworks XIX: The Rain Horse
(2008) was written for an animated children's short film by Russian director Dimitri Gellar. Also released that year were Filmworks XX: Sholem Aleichem
containing music for a documentary on the writer; Filmworks XXI: Belle de Nature / The New Rijksmuseum
featuring soundtracks for another of Maria Beatty's films and a documentary on the restoration of the Amsterdam museum; and Filmworks XXII: The Last Supper.
Moonchild's fourth release, The Crucible
, appeared this year as well.
Zorn also released The Dreamers
, considered to be a sequel to
In October 2008, a third volume of the Arcana
series was released with essays by Greg Cohen, Frank London,
Sean Lennon, Jamie Saft, and Wadada Leo Smith.
The next year saw the issuing O'o
, featuring the same
players and spririt as The Dreamers
Zorn reformed Masada as a sextet with Uri Caine and Cyro Baptista in 2009, noting,
"I felt like we kind of hit a plateau a little bit with it in 2007 and I said, 'Well, maybe the quartet is really done. Maybe we’ve accomplished what we can accomplish. Maybe it’s time to put this to bed.' And then I was asked by the Marciac Jazz Festival to put together a slightly larger group. They asked me what if I added a couple of people to Masada and I said, 'I can’t add anybody to the quartet. The quartet is the quartet, that’s what we do.' But then I thought, 'Well, if I was going to add someone I would probably ask Uri and Cyro.' So we tried it at Marciac and it was unbelievable. We didn’t even have any rehearsal time. I just passed the charts out and said, 'OK, just watch me because I’ll be conducting. Let’s just do it.' And it was one of those magical clicks on the bandstand that sometimes happens. So yeah, this band is taking off again. After 15 years of doing this music, we can still find new things."
In 2009, Richard Foreman directed Astronome: A Night at The Opera
Volume IV of Arcana
was released in September 2009, including essays by Derek Bailey, Nels Cline, Chris Cutler, Paul Dresher, Kenneth Gaburo, Shelley Hirsch, Wayne Horvitz, Vijay Iyer, Gordon Mumma, Matana Roberts, Katherine Supove and Carolyn Yarnell. Volume V was issued in July 2010, subtitled Musicians on Music, Magic, and Mysticism
. Volume VI was published in 2012 with articles by Claire Chase, John Corigliano, Alan Gilbert, Hilary Hahn, David Lang, Tobias Picker, Gyan Riley, Jen Shyu, Julia Woolfe, Kenny Wollesen, and Charles Wuorinen.