Nathaniel Stookey’s CD 'ZIPPERZ' out now

Nathaniel Stookey’s CD 'ZIPPERZ' out now

Nathaniel Stookey is the composer of the hour [...and] has struck it rich again with a brilliant ZIPPERZ.
Mark Alburger, 21st Century Music 

The world premiere recording of ZIPPERZ by Nat Stookey is available on Ghostlight Records beginning August 4 2017. ZIPPERZ is a hip and edgy romantic comedy for two singers and symphony orchestra, a 'dream come true for any lover of music and the written word' (SFist). The album tells the story of a love affair from two different perspectives at the same time through 'dance numbers, pop ballads, and terse little melodic interchanges' (San Francisco Chronicle). An impishly creative work, equally at home on a Pops or inventive subscription program, Stookey's 30-minute essay into after-hours relationships is simply irresistible.

ZIPPERZ tells the story of two singers at a club that's been there for as long as anyone can remember. Night after night, they put on the same boy-meets-girl routine, but tonight, at intermission, their carefully rehearsed set takes an unexpected turn. The insightful and unique structure of Stookey and Harder's piece — like being inside two people's heads at the same time — brings out the complex he-said-she-said of a blossoming relationship.

ZIPPERZ premiered at the Oakland Symphony, with Michael Morgan serving as music director and starring pop artists Eisa Davis and Manoel Felciano. The recording features Robin Coomer and Manoel Felciano. With music by Nathaniel Stookey, Dan Harder's 'zipper' poems provide the libretto, 'presenting a love story simultaneously from the perspectives of both lovers, in interlocking lines that yield third meanings when combined' (21st Century Music). The creative team of ZIPPERZ also includes Donato Cabrera (Conductor), Minna Choi (Artistic Director, Magik*Magik Orchestra), and Jeff Mars (drums).

The artists will be celebrate the release with a karaoke release party on September 12; backing the performance is Cabrera's California Symphony, which also performs Stookey's YTTE on September 24 and Stookey's iconic The Composer is Dead on December 23 with Feliciano narrating. Both performances will take place at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, CA.

On the genesis of the piece, Stookey writes: 
'One of the things that makes music different from a drunken dinner party is that in music, everyone can talk at once and still make perfect sense. Two or more musicians can play different notes in different rhythms — literally against each other, in counterpoint — and yield something that is not only clearly intelligible but also mysteriously enhanced. I had never encountered anything like counterpoint outside music until my friend and longtime collaborator Dan Harder sent me some of his ‘zippers' — pairs of poems that can be read separately, left and right, or zipped together by alternating lines, like this:

                         At the end of the date, we both seem                                                                                     Nervous,                                                    stumblingly anxious,                                                                                     I'll say anything to get him                                                                    desperate                                                                                     to want me.                                                                     to please.

I couldn't resist the temptation to marry Dan's counterpoint with mine, and with a name like ZIPPERZ, it would of course have to involve getting naked. So I asked Dan for a love story that would zip and unzip in as many ways as we could dream up.

The result isn't a conversation. It's more like being inside two people's heads at the same time. You're getting both sides of the story — the he-said in one ear and the she-said in the other — but they're usually worlds apart, on separate channels, so to speak, and in the case of this recording quite literally. (You could pan hard left or hard right and get a very one-sided view of things.)

The other key player here is the orchestra, which is pretty shamelessly flexing its muscle as the biggest, baddest live band on earth. If there is any limit to what a symphony orchestra can do, I have yet to discover it. And though this album is produced to sound in-your-head (if not downright in-your-face), ZIPPERZ is live music through and through. It was commissioned by Michael Morgan and his ever-cool Oakland Symphony and premiered, with Manoel Felciano and Eisa Davis, at the Paramount in downtown Oakland.' 

For further information, please reach out to Andrew Stein-Zeller through September 11, and Mattie Kaiser after September 11.

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