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Peter Zummo



David Weinstein speaks with Peter Zummo, an innovative and pioneering force in New York's new music scene. The composer and trombonist discusses the effect of realizing one has embarked on a musical career without even knowing it and the distinct humor and melodic constructions of his works. A great many insights into his perspective on the social structure of musical ensembles and the conceptions behind such compositions as Experimenting With Household Chemicals, Slybersonic Tromosome and the as-yet-unreleased, working-titled Poptronica are provided, as are details of the rationale behind his desire to create harmony without chords and compositions without scores. But first he provides a breezy, minute-long, chronologically arranged introduction to the history of his life, later elaborating on the foundation and history of the DownTown Ensemble and the self-realizations that came with forming a group geared toward providing a forum for underrepresented repertory performances. The interview features a number of necessarily but quite unfortunately curtailed excerpts of his performances and compositions.



Zummo has performed with such musicians as Daniel Goode, Guy Klucevsek, Mary Jane Leach, John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, and Arthur Russell. Among his available recordings are Zummo With an X (Loris Records), Experimenting With Household Chemicals(XI), Slybersonic Tromosome (Penumbra) and Downtown Only (Lovely Music) (1 hour 20 minutes).
 

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Experimental Composers

RADIO SERIES

The object of this series is to invite emerging and established innovators to share their work. These programs are usually a combination of an interview with a far-reaching perspective on the artist's career, some recordings illustrating this history, and something new. Open territory. The unfortunate and unintended messages that come attached to a title like Experimental Composers are many. Still it is one of the few labels to come out of the world of music that has not been co-opted by promoters, corporations, journalists, or lawyers. This one just seems to have anti-market goo on it. Hooray. It's also just bad English (as if to imply that these poor souls are themselves, in their flesh and blood, some kind of experiment and, perhaps, even expendable). And then there is the spectre of defying the wisdom of the great Edgar Varèse who said something like, "I do not write experimental music. My experimenting is done before I make the music. Afterwards it is the listener who must experiment."
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