Dear Listeners,

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Dear Listeners,

It’s winter break here in Vermont so my son and I have been out on the slopes every day. For many years I have stayed away from fast slidey sports because I was afraid of injuring my hands. If my hands don’t work, how do I make music? But among the many bits of advice I’ve gotten in my parenting journey, “be into what your kid is into” has been one of the best. My lad needed someone to ride the lifts with and I needed to overcome my fear and learn how to fall properly, so here I am.

I found that skiing is not all that different from rollerblading, which I learned to do in Central Park the summer of my junior year. I brought the skates with me on my year abroad in Florence. On weekends there was this amazing city to explore but buses and museums and cafes cost money. And whenever I roamed the quiet streets and parks alone, I would be perpetually harassed, groped and even flashed by pathetic men. But rollerblading was free and, bonus, I am already quite tall, so with skates I was at least 6ft2in. No one ever messed with me on skates. I adapted to the cobblestones and explored all of Florence with exhilarating freedom.

One Sunday, as I was enjoying the expanses of asphalt in Parco delle Cascine, I came upon a group of folks on old-school rollerskates. They had a boombox and were dancing, just like the skaters of Central Park but without the sequined hot pants. They waved me over and exclaimed over my weird skates. They invited me to join them and for the rest of the school year, I spent every Sunday afternoon I could with the rollerskaters. We would gather, dancing and skating around obstacles, and once we had critical mass, tear off along the Arno and into the old city. We’d skate past the David, circle the Piazza della Signoria multiple times and whizz down the marble collanade along the Piazza Republica, ending in a bar, still on skates, for an espresso or aperativo. Those are some of my best memories of my year in Florence.

I continued the skating when I moved to San Francisco, zooming most days through Golden Gate Park to the beach and back again. Sometimes I’d join a similar group of mad skaters on Friday nights to roll fearlessly down hills and through tunnels. Skating was always a great source of joy. But then I moved away from the paved environment of the city and I transitioned to music full time. After acquiring a broken finger from an Evil Door and being shocked at how much that tiny injury impacted my ability to play, I quit skating.

Fast forward to Vermont. Like many people did during the pandemic, I got back on skates except this time with padding, wrist guards and a helmet. And then, as my boy learned to snowboard, I learned to ski. We still ride the lifts together but now he zips down black diamond trails while I ski carefully down the easy ones. He is mystified as to how I can bear to do the same runs over and over but I like it that way. It’s like a meditation. I focus on perfecting my technique and try to make each turn better than the last. It feels similar to one of the things I enjoy about playing the cello, which is noticing tiny details and gradually polishing them. How can I improve this one phrase that I have played thousands of times? It never gets old or boring for me.

I hope it never gets boring for you either! Next week I’ll get back to work improving my old songs and figuring out to play some of my new ones in time for my concerts in March.

March 15 - ArtYard in Frenchtown,NJ

March 16 - Underground Arts in Philadelphia, PA opening up for my old friend The Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

March 17 - Le Poisson Rouge in NYC

March 21 - St John’s Cathedral at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN

And one more

April 6 - Unitarian Univeralist Church in Burlington VT, accompanied by mesmerizing visuals by Alex Reeves

also, outside my solo work on April 7 I’ll be a part of composer Randal Pierce’s ensemble, performing his live soundtrack to George Méliès’ silent cinematic masterpiece, A Trip to the Moon

6:30 and 8:30pm shows

More about all the events happening in Burlington around the eclipse

Thank you for listening and please wear a helmet when you are going fast.

celloly yours, Z

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Dear Listeners, 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Dear Listeners, 

Happy 2024 to you, in all its weirdness. 

I’m working on NEW MUSIC and will be sharing little bits of it and my process with you as I go along. For now, I’m putting the videos on Instagram and my Facebook Page and will link to them on my blog (sorry I let that lapse, somehow I managed to forget blogging existed). Here’s the first, a snippet of a song with the working title “Supernumerary”

What else? There are a few concerts in the immediate future:

March 15 - ArtYard - Frenchtown, NJ

March 16 - Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA

March 17 - Le Poisson Rouge - NYC, NY

March 21 - Big Ears Festival - Knoxville, TN

The show in Philadelphia is opening up for my old friends, the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. My connections to members of that band go back 20+ years to my 964 Natoma days. I first encountered Nils Frykdahl in the previous millennium while he was playing amplified flute in the rafters of the warehouse along with Dan Rathburn making noise and sparks with an arc welder that illuminated butoh performer Shinichi Moma Koga contorting himself on a metal grate. Anyway, Sleepytime is a delightful group of very talented avant garde art rockers and this year needs more of their unfiltered catharsis. I immediately said yes when they asked if I would play for one of their East Coast dates to support their new album.

The Big Ears festival is something I’ve wanted to play at for almost a decade, so I am beyond thrilled to be added this year. I’ll be sticking around for the festival to hear as many of the other artists as possible, it’s off the hook, check it out

More concerts dates are coming in the autumn. East, west, middle, as many as I can fit in ;-)

Thank you for listening!

celloly yours, Z

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Concerts! A new studio!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Hello Listeners,

Happy Summer! I did some much-needed holidaying in foreign lands rich in pastries and protected bike lanes. I hope your summer has also had some joy in it.

(Drumroll-like cello tapping)


There are tiny little things to be done, bits of trim, tweaks to the acoustic treatment, furniture etc… but it is functional. The whole thing took an epic 18 months from planning, to permitting to final construction and a few weeks ago I moved in and started using it! Once my son is back to school in September I will seriously get to work in there. I have several pieces already composed for another album and recording all those fiddly little cello parts will be my first project in this new space. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to finally have a quiet, private, lovely-sounding (it does sound nice) place to create again. It’s been a few years….five, to be precise. I can no longer call this beautiful room my Cello Cave I think. It’s more of a Cello Chapel.

What else have I been up to? I spent a couple months working on the score to a science series. I don’t think I’m allowed to say much about it yet but whenever the program is ready for the world, of course I will tell you. Other things that happened in the spring: I wrote (and conducted!) a piece for a pair of ensembles for Rehearsing Philadelphia, a joint project between musicians at the Curtis Institute and Drexel. It was a fun challenge to write music for other people to play. I’m going to continue this and have a new commission from the Vermont Symphony Orchestra to write a piece for their Jukebox Quartet.

Meanwhile, I have CONCERTS. Real live in-person concerts.

Sept 16 & 17 - Burlington, VT

Nov 11 - Boston, MA

Nov 12 - NYC, NY

Nov 13 - Philadelphia, PA

Nov 14 - Alexandria, VA

Nov 18 - Minneapolis, MN

Nov 19 - Madison, WI

Nov 20 - Chicago, IL

tickets for all at

You might’ve heard that the calendars of mid-size venues are crowded beyond belief. At the early part of this year, a tour in November was the soonest I was able to arrange and I did my best to get this one in before Thanksgiving. West Coast, I am sorry that we weren’t able to get in any shows this year. March/April 2023 is when I hope to get out there again. Also, traveling around Europe and seeing all the modern and lovely unclassifiable artists playing at festivals - gosh I would also love to play in Europe next year too. I don’t have representation there but will cast about to try and make that happen. As always, thanks for listening.

Celloly yours, Zoë

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Score for ‘Oslo’

Monday, May 24, 2021

Hello Listeners,

I spent a solid chunk of this lonely pandemic winter writing music for a stunning film that is premiering this weekend on HBO. Oslo is a drama based on the true story of secret back-channel negotiations that led to the Oslo peace accords in 1993. It was originally a play, written by JT Rogers and directed by Bartlett Sher, who also directed this film adaptation. Andrew Scott and Ruth Wilson play the Norwegian couple behind the negotiations and a stunning cast of Palestinian and Israeli actors play the representatives of the PLO and Israel.

I co-composed the music with Jeff Russo and am so proud of the score we made. I stretched myself in new ways, writing for orchestra and piano in addition to playing all the cello parts in my usual Zoe-fashion. It was a delight to work with Jeff again. It was also therapeutic to have something big to work on while the pandemic shrank my world into a tiny dot containing only me and my son. There will be a soundtrack album available on all the major music services either on or shortly after the premier.

Oslo premiers on May 29 on HBO and will be available on demand the following day

As for concerts, you might be asking, what happened to those concerts from 2020 that were cancelled and rescheduled for May and June of 2021? It is not yet safe for hundreds of people to gather in a room so those concerts are in the process of being rescheduled again. Every band and their mothers’ bands and their kids’ bands are competing to rebook their tours right now but I hope to have some dates to give you soon. One concert that IS happening is in Boulder, Colorado on Oct 2. Stay tuned.

It’s hard to believe here we are almost half way through 2021. As of this past week the leaves are back on the trees, little league games are happening, the farmers market is on again, I ate outside at a restaurant for the first time in 14 months, I hugged my neighbors and I got fully vaccinated against covid. Alex is still too young for a vaccine so we have not yet completely emerged from our little snow globe. Soon.

Thanks for listening and my love to you and yours,


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Join me on Dec 4

Friday, November 20, 2020

Dear Listeners,

How about some catharsis? Join me for a full, livestreamed concert on Dec 4

I’m happy to announce a full-production, multicamera shoot from the stage of University of Vermont concert hall. You can buy tickets at this link:

What else is going on? The same as lot of you, I expect: trying to live my best life while caring for another human in the middle of a time of crisis and uncertainty? For the early part of the pandemic I focused on being the person my son needed while friends and family and school and sports and camps were off limits. Once I accepted it for what it was, it was actually a lovely summer but I would probably describe the effect on my career and sense of self as…annihilating.

In September, school started up again for 2 days a week so I kissed the ground and turned the power back on in my studio. Then in October…4 days a week!!…which feels like such a miracle in comparison to the remote-learning scramble that I know a lot of you are coping with. I am also lucky because although in person concerts are cancelled I seem to have work coming out of my ears. I’m scoring for two movies right now, have multiple commissions and additional projects lined up for all of next year. Covid cases are rising again in Vermont and I’m concerned that schools might close again but like everything else this year…I can’t control it so I try to do my part (please, wear masks!) while not stressing too much (I don’t always succeed at that ;-)).

That’s it really. Let’s try for a little musical catharsis on Dec 4. I know I could use it. I realize a livestream is not the same as us all being together in a room but one silver lining - the concert won’t sell out and all the seats are good!

May you and your loved ones stay well. Thanks for listening,


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Where does the sky end?

Thursday, August 06, 2020

I managed to compose bite-sized music for a few things while in lock-down. Here’s of them, an episode of But Why? A Podcast for Curious Kids. It was done with help from my son who had strong opinions about where the music should go and let me know when I made it “too scary”. Thank you Jane Lindholm and Vermont Public Radio!!

Where does the Sky End?

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Be kind

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Dear Listeners,

It isn’t safe for us to be together yet so all my 2020 concerts are rescheduled for 2021:

May 18, 2021 - Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center

May 19, 2021 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall

May 21, 2021 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater

May 22, 2021 - Seattle, WA - Neptune Theater

June 12, 2021 - Boulder, CO - Chautauqua Auditorium

Tickets available HERE

If you have a ticket for one of these concerts for this year, you can use it next year. Please contact the venues for refunds. Thank you.

Income aside, I think that playing concerts is for me what going to church might be like for others. Today marks my 100th day of social distancing and damn….a year is a big. This is going to be a long haul. I haven’t had the heart to put on a livestream yet, but I will.

Please stay well and be kind to each other.

Yours in spirit, Z

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Stay well, meanwhile here’s a video

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Dear Listeners,

Gosh, it’s now going on 7 weeks of social-distancing for my son and I. Bonkers! I could never have imagined any of this. How are you coping?

The beginning weeks were rocky for both of us. Like a lot of you, I’m caring for a young person who’s world has also been turned upside down (again) and his needs can easily fill up my entire day. But I think an equilibrium of sorts has set in the last couple of weeks. I’m even escaping into my spare bedroom studio for an hour every now and then to write music. We love not getting up in the mornings until we are ready and every day there is breakfast and second breakfast. We are watching the Great British Bake Off in the evenings and maybe we will come up with something to do with the rutabagas in the weekly farm box.

I do wish Spring would hurry up and get to Vermont, because damn, it’s still cold and occasionally snowing. Maybe Spring is on lockdown too. I am thankful that we have a cozy place to be and grateful to everyone who is working out there so that we can stay in. Like you, I’m anxious about the future but…one day at a time.

Before all this I had spent several months working on the score to The Edge of All We Know, a documentary about the Event Horizon Telescope. It was set to premiere in Copenhagen last month but of course the film festival was canceled. As soon as I have news about where you can see it, I will let you know. I left on tour the day after the score was done and was lucky to squeeze in 5 concerts before the world shut down.

As you’ve probably guessed, my May concerts have been postponed or canceled. There are still some opportunities to hear me though:

The Bang on a Can Marathon in NYC on May 1, 2, 3 is not happening in person…but 40 artists are participating in a livestream, me included, on May 3 from 3pm to 9pm.

Bang on a Can Marathon: May 3, 3pm EST

No one really knows what the future holds for live concerts right now but fingers crossed. For now my remaining May concerts have been rescheduled to the end of August:

- Boulder Chautauqua August 28.
- Aladdin Theater n Portland August 30.
- Cedar Cultural Center concert in Minneapolis Sept 1

(Also, stay tuned for a possible Chicago concert on Sept 2)

All existing tickets will be honored and please contact the venues for refunds.

I was going to perform at Maria Popova’s amazing Universe in Verse on April 18th. Maria has managed to get many involved to record their bit for a streamed version. So last week I recorded something for a poem by Rebecca Elson and read by astrophysicist Janna Levin. I also, somehow, after Alex went to bed one night, wrote a short piece to go with a poem and reading by Marie Howe. Not really sure how I did that, or if it’s replicable but it did give me hope that maybe some small amount of creative work is possible while Pandemic Parenting. I do feel that much of my life I’ve been making limoncello out of lemons, so let’s see if I can make some more. You can watch the 2020 Universe in Verse on April 25 EST at 4:30pm, after which it will disappear.

Universe in Verse: April 25, 4:30pm EST

I will do my own livestream at some point, maybe a throwback to the ambient brunches we used to host years ago in San Francisco. Once I am successful at getting all those tracks of cello to live-mix themselves so that I have something worth listening to, I will let you know.
To tide you over until then, here is a video from my performance at Kings Place in London last fall, shot beautifully by Michael Lebor with help from Sedge Thomson:

Possible (live version), at Kings Place

If you want to download the track you can find it HERE

Thank you for listening and for making my career possible to begin with and… huge massive thanks to every single one of you who is out there, keeping the world together so that we can stay inside.

Stay well.

Celloly yours, Zoë

(photo by Gabrielle Motola)

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A quick look at the year ahead

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Hullo Listeners,

Thank you everyone who came to see me in London a couple weeks ago. We recorded and videotaped the show and are editing it into consumable chunks. More as that develops!

Meanwhile, I’ll be playing cello with Imogen Heap, Guy Sigsworth and the band again for their UK shows in November. If you follow Imogen you’ve probably already heard that the Continental Europe concerts were canceled due to Brexit uncertainty. The world right now…I won’t get into it but just sigh loudly….

Nov 10 - SWG3, Glasgow
Nov 11 - Sage Gateshead, Gateshead
Nov 12 - The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Nov 15 - The Roundhouse, London

(tickets to these concerts avail at

I’ll be spending the rest of the fall and winter writing music.

As for 2020….

I am in the process of planning a short East Coast tour for Feb 22-Mar 6. Following that, I’ll be joining the delightfully nutty JoCo Cruise from March 7-14. Then, more North American dates are in the works for May and June. I’m just giving you a heads up so you can make some room in your calendars! Be sure to join my email list so that you can be the first to hear about concerts as soon as tickets are onsale.

Thank you for listening and have a lovely autumn!

celloly yours, Zoë

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Walking makes me happy

Monday, September 16, 2019

One of the nice things about getting older is becoming aware of what you care about and are sensitive to. I know that the ability to get around on my own two feet, or by bike, is a key part of my well-being, so when I was looking for a new place to live, a walkable environment was at the top of my list of features our home needed to have.

Burlington Vermont isn’t always perfect for me but it is pretty damn walkable. We walk to restaurants, to cafes, to the lake and my favorite thing is the daily walk to school. It’s not ideal - we have to cross a busy road, the damp grass of a park, a citizen-made-cut-through-behind-a-baseball-diamond-to-a-gap -in-the-fence-and-across-a-nice-neighbor’s-yard, another road, a parking lot, a plank across a stream and more damp grass in the school playing field - but walking to school with the other kids and the shepherding parents makes me feel happy.

I thoroughly enjoy this morning walk but another reason I go along is because one particular street is really not safe - it’s a busy car street in the mornings and there is no crosswalk where the kids cross. Over the years, local residents have tried to get a crosswalk. Letters have been sent, petitions have been circulated, a plan was even drafted six years previously…but still the kids wait for a break in traffic to dash across.

The Burlington Vermont Department of Public Works has said they can’t build a crosswalk at this particular spot because there is no “Pedestrian Receiving Facility” on the park side of the road. They said that making a “Pedestrian Receiving Facility” would involve the parks department, which apparently makes it too complex an operation. They recommend walking elsewhere.

Sometimes in order to make their neighborhoods livable, citizens have to nudge slow-moving bureaucracies towards action.

Before dawn on Sunday, some neighbors made a pop-up crosswalk! It isn’t permanent - the next big rain will wash it away - but this beautiful fall morning, cars stopped and the kids crossed!

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Hello LA! Getting towards the end of the @imogenheap...

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Hello LA! Getting towards the end of the @imogenheap @guysigsworthproducer tour here. Today I have my own concert at Largo and then tomorrow June 13 we are at the Greek Theater. Touring can be difficult and challenging and exhausting and exhilarating and magical and fun all at the same time (especially so when you bring your children!). I’ve so enjoyed the camaraderie with these incredible musicians and crew. They feel like family. Thanks for asking me to come along @imogenheap and I’m so glad I said yes. (at Los Angeles, California)

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Soundcheck with @imogenheap, @guysigsworthproducer and the band...

Friday, May 03, 2019

Soundcheck with @imogenheap, @guysigsworthproducer and the band at the historic Lincoln Theater. What a gorgeous place! (at The Lincoln Theatre)

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With @imogenheap for the introduction of the CASE Act on Capitol...

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

With @imogenheap for the introduction of the CASE Act on Capitol Hill. #myskillspaythebills (at Capitol Hill)

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Thank you Miami for such a warm welcome! Last night at the...

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Thank you Miami for such a warm welcome! Last night at the Fillmore with Imogen Heap, Guy Sigsworth and the band for the North American kickoff of #myceliaworldtour (at The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater)

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Soundcheck with @imogenheap and @guysigsworth at the Fillmore...

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Soundcheck with @imogenheap and @guysigsworth at the Fillmore Miami Beach (at The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater)

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Songwriters, you have a choice

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

The last few years, I’ve taken a bit of a break from Thought Leading. I’ve had my own personal struggles and my thought leading has been directed at overcoming the disruption wrought upon life and by my husband’s cancer and death. I don’t mean to bring up my personal tragedy to get your attention but I do feel the need the need to explain why I haven’t been as active an artists’ advocate as I once was.

However, important things are happening in the world of music royalties and I can’t sit on the sidelines.

If you make music for a living, you might have been aware of the passage of the Music Modernization Act last year. The law sets up a non-profit entity called the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) to issue blanket licenses to streaming services and to collect and pay the owners of songs.

If you are a self-published, DIY songwriter, that is you.

Much like SoundExchange collects and distributes your digital performance royalties, this new MLC will collect and distribute your digital mechanical royalties.

This stuff, and mechanical royalties in particular, can be mind-numbingly boring but believe me, if you make a living off your songs, you need to pay attention. Your royalties are at stake and you have a short window of time to act.

Two groups have submitted proposals to the copyright office to run the MLC, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and the American Music Licensing Collective (AMLC).

I have joined the board of the AMLC because I believe they will get mechanical royalties to the songwriters who earned them.

There is a pot of an estimated $1.2 billion in unmatched mechanical royalties that have yet to be paid to the people who earned them. The streaming services were required to pay the royalties, not to match them. Making a system for connecting songs to owners and getting these black-box royalties to the people who earned them will be primary tasks of the new MLC.

Why should DIY songwriters care?

Millions of songs are recorded every year and the vast majority of them are by “self-published” songwriters and composers like me. We control our own copyrights and are not represented by the major music publishers in the NMPA. We are the ones who will rely on the MLC to get us royalties that in many cases, we haven’t been paid before. I would bet my favorite pair of shoes that self-published songwriters like me wrote the songs that generated that pot of royalties.

The music publishers in the NMPA have direct deals with the streaming services. They have been collecting their royalties and will continue to do so without help of the MLC. This is the part that worries me: written into the law, and in fact lobbied for by the NMPA, is language that indicates board members of the MLC are able to recommend the pot of unmatched royalties be liquidated and distributed to themselves by market share.

This gaping hole in the law should make all DIY songwriters sit up and pay attention. The board of the MLC will get to say what happens to that estimated billion dollars and to all unmatched royalties going forward.

The publishers in the NMPA will not use the MLC yet they can recommend liquidating the pot of unmatched royalties and distributing it to themselves? Will they have any incentive to do the work required to match these royalties to the songwriters who should get it?

Without question, the AMLC has the least conflict of interest, the best technology proposal and the least incentive to recommend directing other people’s royalties to themselves, not to mention their budget is a fraction of the one proposed by the NMPA.

There are other things too. The AMLC doesn’t aim to make a single corporate-controlled database containing information about every composition in the world, which the NMPA does. I think we have experienced enough corporate consolidation of data, thank you very much. Instead, the AMLC’s proposal is for a decentralized network that pulls together data from the 100+ global music rights organizations and will use dynamic indexing, normalization and intelligent matching algorithms to connect songs with owners.

I trust the AMLC to get me my mechanical royalties.

If you are a songwriter, you have only until April 22 to tell the Registrar of Copyrights which group you think should handle your mechanical royalties.

Click here to make a comment with the copyright office.

Want to learn more? Tomorrow April 10 at 5:30pm Central time the AMLC is holding a town hall. I’ll be there by video conference. You can join on your phone or computer and ask questions by going here:

To survive in this era as an artist you have to maximize all possible revenue streams: live performances, sync licensing, subscriptions, merchandise, performance royalties, sound recording royalties, mechanicals. It takes some work to collect all the pieces of your royalty pie. Someday, I hope those of us who own our copyrights will be able to enter all our information once instead of many, many times in many, many places.

Imagine being able to identify yourself, your songs, your percentage ownership if you collaborated with someone, and then imagine collecting all the royalties — for the performance, for the recording, for the composition — without having to pay a hefty percentage for the privilege?

That won’t be happening anytime soon. The royalty collection systems are complex and like other complex systems, many parties benefit from that complexity (healthcare anyone?).

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Don’t miss out! Tickets onsale at MAR...

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Don’t miss out! Tickets onsale at

MAR 31
New York, NY - Joe’s Pub

Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall

Detroit, MI - The Cube at DSO

Toronto, ON - Great Hall

Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere

MAY 23
Boston, MA - First Parish Church

Austin, TX - Central Presbyterian Church

Seattle, WA - Neptune Theater

Berkeley, CA - Frieght & Salvage

JUN 12
Los Angeles, CA - Largo

SEP 21 & 22
London, UK - King’s Place

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Happy pancake day! #shrovetuesday #pancakeday (at Burlington,...

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Happy pancake day! #shrovetuesday #pancakeday (at Burlington, Vermont)

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Today is a typical day. I’m trying to finalize travel schedules...

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Today is a typical day. I’m trying to finalize travel schedules and logistics for a tour in May and June with @imogenheap, while attaching a horn onto a papier-mâché unicorn. (at Burlington, Vermont)

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Spring (soon!) concerts

Friday, February 15, 2019

Dear Listeners,

I have more concerts on the books for Spring 2019!

(It snowed another 8 inches yesterday here in Vermont so I’m going to keep invoking “Spring” to encourage it to arrive soon)

Mar 31 - Joe’s Pub, New York, NY
Apr 4 - Thalia Hall, Chicago, IL
Apr 5 - The Cube at DSO, Detroit, MI
Apr 6 - The Great Hall, Toronto, ON
May 1 - The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
May 23 - First Parish Church, Boston, MA
Jun 6 - Neptune Theater, Seattle, WA
Jun 9 - Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA
Jun 12 - Largo at the Coronet, Los Angeles, CA

Those of you who follow Imogen Heap might notice that some of these concerts are very close to her dates in North America. Well, there is a reason for that! I’ll be playing cello in Ms. Heap’s band for all her North American shows.  I sat in with her in Helsinki a couple months ago and am beyond delighted to play some more shows (I’d better start practicing those cello parts now though!). Since I can only travel a limited amount each year, my little “shadow tour” will both help me see some of you and earn me a bit of extra coin while I’m away from home for so long. Also, I plan on bringing my lad along for much of it. The last time we toured together was five years ago, when he was three, and of course that was only possible because his dad came along too. I am ready to try this touring with little people thing again and there is no better, no more welcoming environment than on Imogen Heap’s tour.

Honestly, I feel like I have so few role models, and Imogen is one of them. She has always been an inspiration with her music, her engineering, her approach to her career and her technical innovations. She continues to be an inspiration in how to combine motherhood with a music career.

Ok, I’ll stop fan-girling and give you the practical information….

Tickets for my concerts here
Tickets for Imogen Heap with Frou Frou concerts here

Thank you for listening and I hope to see some of you this year! Celloly yours,


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this is my OLD blog, new one is on tumblr

Friday, September 12, 2014

this is my OLD blog, new one is on tumblr

This is my OLD blog... I moved to Tumblr in 2012 and this site is an orphan. To read news from 2012 onwards go to Thank you!

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Tshirts, Tours n Toddlers

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tshirts, Tours n Toddlers

Hello Dear Listeners,

By popular request, tshirts are available for sale on my website. Now you can have a cello-action-figure silhouette of me emblazoned on your chest with which to, um, impress your friends and family with both your sublime style and taste in music. The shirt was designed by yours truly, made and printed in the US of A and will be personally mailed to you by my sister. You can find these shirts (and posters too!) at

More tours are being plotted for next year. So far we’ve got the Midwest in February and then Virginia, southern California, the Northwest and Ecuador in April/May (those places are all near each other, right?). I’ll also be an artist ambassador at the Direct2Fan camp in MIDEM in Cannes in January if you’d like to come and hang with me on the French Riviera in the middle of winter. Tickets for all these dates (and more are coming) at

In other exciting news, I’ll be performing live with San Francisco’s legendary ODC Dance at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in March. More about that one as it draws closer. Have I missed anything? Well, I can definitively say that I am WORKING ON A NEW ALBUM. I might even release it next year…. but I am the parent of a toddler so I don’t like to promise too much.

I guess that’s it. I hope you enjoy the long, dark days if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere…the long, light days if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere…and the equally light and dark days if you’re near the Equator.

Thank you for listening and for your continued support!

best wishes to you and yours,


Feb 11 Evanston, IL: SPACE

Feb 13 Iowa City, IA: Englert Civic Theater

Feb 14 Omaha, NE: Waiting Room

Feb 17 Scottsbluff, NE: Midwest Theater

Feb 18 Denver, CO: Soiled Dove

Mar 15, 17, 21, 23 San Francisco, CA: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Apr 12 Minneapolis, MN: Cedar Cultural Center

Apr 14 Reston, VA: Reston Community Center

Apr 26 Los Angeles, CA: Largo at the Coronet

Apr 27 UC Riverside, CA: Culver Center of the Arts

May 3 Seattle, WA: Neptune

May 4 Portland, OR: Aladdin Theater

May 17 Quito, Ecuador: Teatro National Sucre

concert tickets:

tshirts & albums:

source: Blogger

Northeast & Midwest tours, NPR & Tears for Fears

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Northeast & Midwest tours, NPR & Tears for Fears

Hello Cellofriends,

I've been having a very productive and enjoyable month of composing. It really is such a joy to be writing new music and its been just spilling out. I'm trying to capture it as quickly as possible before it evaporates (I don't know if it WOULD evaporate, but better safe than sorry).

A little interruption though to announce some things....

In case any of you are NPR listeners, I'm on All Things Considered today. Tune into your local radio station, or you can hear it on the NPR site.

I have short Northeast tour planned for November. There are more dates coming, but here are the three confirmed so far:

Nov 5 - Boston, MA
Nov 6 - Burlington, VT
Nov 18 - New York, NY

And in two days, I'll get to live out my fangirl dream, and play a cello version of Mad World with Tears for Fears at their Northern California shows this week.

There are other things:

- A speaking engagement on Sept 12 at the SF Music Tech Summit
- A short performance on Oct 3 at the Fillmore in SF to kick of the SF Mayoral Candidates Forum.
- The November 3 premier of the Kepler Project at the SF California Academy of Science Morrison Planetarium. I'm currently composing the score and it's an inspiring subject to write music for: snowflakes, harmony of the spheres, paradigm shift. Plus it will happen in a DOME.
- A Midwest tour in Feb 2012
- A new work for the Low End String Quartet that will premier in April 2012.

Tickets and details for all these events can be found HERE.

Thank you, thank you for listening!

celloly yours, Zoe

source: Blogger

New Video: The Avant Cellist

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Video: The Avant Cellist

A couple of weeks before I left to go on tour, a crew came north to the forest to shoot a short documentary about me. Most interviews have tended to focus on either the technology I use, the business of my career or my use of social media. So it was refreshing, and anomalous, to be asked about music for once. The video crew wanted to know about my artistic life and inspiration and point of view. But what makes the video even more unusual is that this wasn't made by an indy documentarian or a media outlet....but by Intel as part of their Visual Life campaign.

If you know me, you already know that I don't do endorsements (well, to be honest, no one has ever asked) and that I choose my licensing clients very carefully (you'll never hear my music in a Coca Cola ad for example). So for the record, I was not paid to do this video. So far everyone I've met at Intel has been genuinely interested in and supportive of the arts. So if they want to highlight that support with their campaign, I think its a rare example of corporate intent and artistic purpose dovetailing. I'm ok with it.

Its beautifully done and I think they captured me and my artistic life extremely well (although I find it hard to watch myself on video without putting my fingers in my ears and diving off my chair to hide under the table every 30 seconds). Thank you Intel.

Hope you enjoy it.

source: Blogger

A tour...and shows with Kaki King & Radiolab

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A tour...and shows with Kaki King & Radiolab

Hooray, an "Into The Trees" tour is finally coming into focus!

I've said it before, booking seems to be the last hurdle for a DIY artist. My previous efforts at lining up concerts in a logical geographical order haven't always been a success ;-) These new headlining concerts are thanks to my new booking agent.....(thank you Mark Lourie of Skyline for helping me get to my fans)

I'm going to visit the continent in stages. This first round I have concerts on both coasts, and a few dates in Europe. We'll visit more of the continent in May and June. I say "we" since for the foreseeable future I tour with Cellofamily in tow (i.e. #cellobaby and #cellobabydaddy to those of you who follow me on Twitter...or Alex and Jeff to everyone else!). No doubt this experience of touring with a baby will lead to a fair amount of mommy-blogging....I apologize in advance.

Click here for Into the Trees Tour dates and ticket info

Radiolab shows...

In March I'm pleased to announce that I'm joining the creators of my very favorite radio show, Radiolab, as they hit the road on a three-city tour...

"Jad and Robert will be performing an upcoming episode on symmetry, and how it shapes our very existence—from the origin of the universe, to what we see when we look in the mirror. We'll search for love in ancient Greece, head to modern-day Princeton for a look inside our brains, and revisit an unlikely headline from the Oval Office circa 1979. And one of our favorite musicians, the amazing Zoe Keating, will be on stage to provide live cello scoring!"

We're performing the show in NYC, LA and Seattle.
Tickets for these very special dates can be purchased here

Kaki King shows...

AND last but certainly not least.... I have four concerts on the West coast supporting Kaki King! Kaki is amazing and I love her music (did you hear the score to "Into The Wild"?). I can't tell you how pleased I am to be opening up for her. We have plans to do a little special something together too...

Ticket info for these shows & the rest of my tour can be found on my performing page.

So what is one of my performances like?
In case you've never seen me live before, hopefully this review will give you an idea...
Zoe Keating at the SF Independent 1/19/2011

Thank you, thank you for all your continued support. I hope to play for you this year.

Celloly yours,


Feb 27: The Compound Grill, Phoenix, AZ
Feb 28: UCSD The Loft, La Jolla, CA (Supporting Kaki King)
Mar 2: Largo at the Coronet, Los Angeles, CA (Supporting Kaki King)
Mar 3: College of the Sequoias Theater, Visalia, CA (Supporting Kaki King)
Mar 4: Yoshi's, San Francisco, CA (Supporting Kaki King)
Mar 6: Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY (2nd show added at 9pm!)
Mar 11: Red Room at Cafe 939,Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA
Mar 14: Radiolab Live: Symmetry, NYU Skirball Center, NY
Mar 17: Teatro de la Ciudad, Mexico City, (Supporting Andrew Bird)
Mar 20: The Kate Theater, Old Saybrook, CT
Mar 23: Radiolab Live: Symmetry,UCLA Royce Hall, Los Angeles, CA
Mar 29: The Triple Door, Seattle, WA
Mar 30: Radiolab Live: Symmetry,5th Avenue Theater, Seattle, WA
Mar 31: The Aladdin Theater, Portland, OR (tix onsale 2/11/11)

source: Blogger

A few shows in Jan & March

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A few shows in Jan & March

Ahoy me cello friends,

Baby Alex (aka Cellobaby) has shown himself to be a happy sailor. He seems to enjoy new places, people and singing along during my concerts. So while the going is good, I have a plethora of performances in the approaching months. If you don't see your fair port in this list please do not be alarmed! In the coming year I do really intend to visit as many locales as possible, but I must do it in small chunks. Stay tuned for more concerts as I book them.

One huge way you can help....tell me where you are! While we might occasionally frequent the same cafes in the astral plane (you know that one with the red sofas?)...I only know the terrestrial location of a small fraction of you. To tell me where you are, just sign up on my email list (I won't write you too often, don't worry).

Lastly, I wanted to mention that (cough) my cd "Into The Trees" could be the perfect gift...say for a certain someone you'd like to impress with your sublime musical taste...or maybe as a peace offering to an estranged relative...or maybe to the person who seems to have everything and you never know what to give them. My sister Laura has been doing an amazing job sending cds off to every corner of the earth, and if you need them sent speedily or to be gift wrapped, she can do it (just say so in the order). They are available at the usual place:

Here are those shows in 2011...

The Independent
628 Divisidero Street
San Francisco, CA 94117

Le Poisson Rouge
New York, NY

Mar 11: BOSTON
Cafe 939
939 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02115

Teatro de la Ciudad
Mexico City

The Kate: Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
Old Saybrook, CT

Thank you yet again.

celloly yours,


source: Blogger

NPR, BBC, NBC and other acronymns

Friday, August 27, 2010

NPR, BBC, NBC and other acronymns

I've had a stroke of media luck this last week. I was interviewed by Laura Sydell for NPR's All Things Considered. Then, over the weekend BBC played me on "Introducing with Tom Robinson" and NBC used one of my songs (without telling me, ahem) in a Dateline special about Hurricane Katrina. Not a bad week!

NPR: Women Musicians Seize on Social Media

BBC Introducing with Tom Robinson (I'm about 1hr30 in)

NBC Dateline: Hurricane Katrina, the First Five Years (my music at 06:51)

Right now I'm working on three things. First, my composition for the 01SJ Biennial with digital artist Robert Hodgin. We'll be premiering a BRAND NEW WORK in San Jose on Sept 18th. Here's where you can find out more details about both this incredible art festival and the concert.

01SJ Biennial "Build Your Own World"

And second, I'm recording some more cello loops for Mark Isham for his score to a film called "Warrior" (can't remember if I mentioned it, but less than 1 day before baby Alex was born, I recorded parts for another of his scores...a Robert Redford film called "The Conspirator"). Then, I leave in less than 2 weeks for Switzerland, where I'm performing in the tiny town of Ilanz and in Berne. Thank goodness baby Alex seems to enjoy far ;-)

Zoe Keating at Cinema Sil Platz: Sept 9 & 10

My concert with Apex Dance at Boulder Chautauqua was heaps of fun. Thank you to Apex Dance, Dan Gesmer of Seismic Skate and the Colorado Music Festival for hosting Jeff, Alex and I and for making my first major concert as a mother logistically possible. And thank you to everyone in Colorado who came to see us!

My next goal is to do a national tour to play for as many of you as possible. I'll need your help in figuring out which cities to visit...but more about that in my next post.

Anyway, I hope you've had a wonderful summer, nutty weather and all.

Thank you, thank you for listening....

celloly yours, Zoe

source: Blogger

Internet Royalty Math Makes My Brain Hurt

Friday, July 09, 2010

Internet Royalty Math Makes My Brain Hurt

Last year, egged on by the ubiquitous "We've Got Money for Artists!" advertising campaign... I signed up for Soundexchange (Soundexchange, in case you don't know them, are the entity entrusted by Congress to administer performance royalties for artists for internet airplay).

I've been a Pandora fan since they began. I remember seeing a job posting for the Music Genome Project back in maybe 2000 and considering applying. I have a subscription and listen almost every day. I had a vague sense of my internet plays from other people. From what i hear, I think a lot of people listen to and discover me there. So to GET PAID indirectly by Pandora, in addition to being a fan, seemed, well, awesome.

It took over six months to process the Soundexchange paperwork and I waited with cautious optimism to receive a check. I got it last week. The amounts were, from 2006 to the present:

$158 as copyright owner (i.e. label payment since I'm my own label)
$135 as performer

Honestly, that seemed kind of low. So, I wrote to Pandora to ask my total plays. They, bless them, wrote back that collectively all my songs have had about 423,000 spins

That number isn't up there with Lady Gaga, but it seemed like a lot of plays to me. Not having followed the outcome of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, I naively thought that 423,000 plays should surely amount to more than $293. I wrote to SoundExchange asking for details about how the math works.

Their response I did not understand....

...Digital service providers are only required to reported 2 weeks worth of performances a quarter. Moreover, those 2 weeks do not have to be on consecutive days, they can report any 14 days worth of performances within a 3 month period. If your performances do not occur within that period, then there are no reported performances to be compensated for...I believe that while you had 423,000 performances from Pandora, not all of them were during a reported period.

I was confused, and spawned a discussion on the Tunecore mailing list. However, a few hours later, after writing it all up for this blog, I got a message from Soundexchange which explains the math once and for all.

To address your concerns about the amount, the number you cited ($290 or so) is just about correct for 423,000 performances by a service operating under the pureplay rates (as Pandora does). The nonsubscription “per performance” rates for services that elect the pureplay rates start at $.0008 in 2006 and rise to $.00097 “per performance” in 2010. Remember that by law 5% of your earned royalties are paid into a fund which supports backup musicians and session players, and around 8% is SoundExchange’s administrative rate, to pay our staff and keep the lights on.

So there you have it. There is no mystery or shadowy accounting going on. The numbers are just very, very low. Lower than I realized, which I suppose is the tradeoff to keeping internet broadcasters in business.

End of story. Now I'm off to put baby Alex to bed with his favorite Ulrich Schnauss Pandora station.

source: Blogger

The Scoop on Billboard Charting

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Scoop on Billboard Charting

My first gig as a new mum was last Tuesday: a short performance at an Intel conference in San Jose. The days leading up to the gig, I managed to practice in little chunks in between Alex's feedings. Then on Tuesday morning, I tanked him up for the 2 and a half hour drive, gave him a quick feed when we got there, sent baby Alex off with his Dad, rearranged my outfit and played the concert. On the way back home we got stuck in traffic in San Francisco and since it was a nice day, decided to wait it out at the Java Beach Cafe on Ocean Beach.

While we were there, soaking up the beachy atmosphere, I got an email from someone at Billboard inquiring about details for "Into the Trees" for the charts. Oooh! I took Alex back to the van for another feed and called the number.

"What is the record label and catalog number for this album?" the man on the phone asked.

"Er...none", I said, "I released it myself."

"Ok, and what is the retail price?"

"Well, I'm selling physical copies for $14 and deluxe editions for $20, but I sell them from my website so they aren't reported. I guess I'm charting from digital downloads on Bandcamp, which are pay-what-you-want with a minimum of $8".

"Bandcamp?" he asked.

At that moment Alex started crying.

"Hang on a minute! My baby fell off the nipple, I have to adjust him".

I got Alex latched back on and picked up the cell phone again.

"You have a new baby?"

"Yes, he's seven weeks old. I'm nursing him in the car on the way home from a corporate gig".

"Ah...well that's all I need to know. Congrats on the new baby and on making the charts".

The following day, sure enough, there I was on the Billboard classical chart at #7. I was very pleased. However, I kicked myself for not doing all my sales through Bandcamp because none of my pre-orders were counted through Soundscan. Until last week, I was still selling the physical CDs from my site, which means they don't "count". So on the one hand, I was happy to chart 100% from digital downloads and no advertising or PR other than a couple tweets and emails.... but on the other hand, two thirds of my sales weren't reported. 24 hours previously I hadn't cared about reporting sales at all. Now I cared about it.

You see how this goes - its the musical equivalent of keeping up with the Joneses. Before, I was alone in my forest and happy as a clam to be selling any music at all but now I'm comparing myself to others and left unsatisfied (Semi OT: this is one of the things I like about living where I do. There aren't very many people around to remind me that my car is old and I've been wearing the same grubby outfit all week).

I had been revamping my website prior to the album release in a piecemeal fashion (i.e. doing bits of HTML with one hand while breastfeeding) and hadn't gotten around to changing the ordering page. So the day after charting on Billboard, you can be sure I moved all my physical sales to Bandcamp as well (much to the relief of my sister, who handles the mailing of my CDs, and was exasperated with both me and Paypal. Bandcamp has a much friendlier order fulfillment interface).

AND NOW WE COME TO THE MEAT OF THIS RAMBLING BLOG POST where I talk about how many sales figures it takes to chart on the Billboard classical charts.

This Washington Post article is interesting:
Classical artists such as Hilary Hahn chart big on Billboard with little sales

"The dirty secret of the Billboard classical charts is that album sales figures are so low, the charts are almost meaningless. Sales of 200 or 300 units are enough to land an album in the top 10. Hahn's No. 1 recording, after the sales spike resulting from her appearance on Conan, bolstered by blogs and press, sold 1,000 copies."

As delighted as I am to be able to add the tagline to my resume, I was actually surprised to make the Billboard charts because I didn't think I'd sold very many. How many did I sell that week to make the #7 spot? I sold 640 full album downloads (I'm assuming Soundscan doesn't count single song downloads). This last week I sold 709 copies, which put me at #12.

What doesn't get reported though is what I call "purchase enthusiasm". In other words, how many of you opted to pay $20, $30, $50, even $100 for a download of my new album. I've been floored by your generosity (thank you!).

Other bits of data for you to interpret as you wish: on Bandcamp, as of today I've had 71,115 plays (57,789 complete plays, 13,317 partial plays)...1700 Bandcamp album sales and 1988 album pre-orders. Someone also pointed out that my album is on numerous filesharing sites, and one site logs 27,000 downloads of it. This listen-to-buy ratio doesn't seem all that great to me, but then, I have nothing to compare it to.

I'm in this for the long run (the Natoma album has keep me housed and fed for four years) and happy with how things are going, especially given that I've done zero promo. So I won't dwell any more on the numbers but will get back to the more important task of making music. I have a performance with a ballet to get ready for on August 3rd.

source: Blogger

My new album is here!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My new album is here!!!

Dear Friends, Family and Fans,

At long last "Into The Trees" is shipping!!!

It felt rather epic getting the album out. There were an astonishing number of snags that had nothing to do with me having a baby. Maybe I'll tell you the story later when its aged enough to be funny...

For those of you who pre-ordered....thank you again. My wonderful sister is mailing your CDs as I write this. To tide you over until your copy arrives in the post.... the album is temporarily streaming at

For those of you who would still like a physical copy...the album comes in 2 flavors: a regular edition with 11 tracks in a cardboard digipak; and a deluxe edition with 16 tracks, album notes and photo-booklet in a cardboard digipak. Both can be obtained on my website

I don't know when "Into The Trees" will appear on iTunes, hopefully soon, but digital copies (including 320k mp3 and FLAC) can also be downloaded at

THANK YOU for your patience and I hope the music is worth the wait. I've already started on Album #4. I've found motherhood so inspiring and my head has been filled with music since I gave birth six weeks ago.

Now, the next step is to tour....;-)

celloly yours,


source: Blogger

Album, SXSW, LA show...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Album, SXSW, LA show...

Yes, I know, I know...I missed my album release date (I'm gonna fire myself for sure this time!). I really thought I could get it to you by March 1st, but I was sorely mistaken. There's no problem other than I'm just a slowpoke and doing too far many things at once.

Also, for the reason I announced here (i.e. I'm having a baby in May!!) for the last 6 months I haven't been able to work late into the night as is my custom...because I keep falling asleep! I've been doing little bits here and there, in between all my other projects, but not the solid music immersion sessions that I like to do.

However, I am at last happy with how everything sounds. Now I need to finish up the mixing/mastering process with my trusty post-production friend Count and then Jeff and I will package it up...and hopefully some of you will still want it!

In the meantime, I've got some performances coming up that I'm really looking forward to.

The first is my SXSW showcase, next week on March 17 at 8pm at Central Presbyterian Church. I'll also be speaking on a panel, Effective Online Marketing Platforms, on March 19 at 2pm, along with Lou Plaia from ReverbNation, Corey Denis of Not Shocking, Jason Lekberg from Epic Records and Josh Wittman of Redeye Distribution.

Then, after SXSW, I'll be heading to LA to play a very special show with Curt Smith from Tears For Fears on March 23, at Largo at the Coronet. As Mashable wrote recently, we collaborated via Twitter on his new song "All is Love". I'm rather happy with how the cello arrangement came out (you can download it on Amazon and iTunes.).

On March 23rd, I'll play my own set, with songs from my new album, and then I'll sit in with Curt and his band on "All is Love" and maybe even "Mad World", if I can hash out a good cello version. More info at the Largo website and tickets are available in advance by calling (310) 855-0350.

Other performances coming up:

March 28: Switchboard Music Festival in San Francisco, CA

August 3: Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, CO
This evening will feature both solo performance and the premier of new ballet by the Apex Dance Company set to live music by me. tickets available here

Ok, that's it for now. If you're in Austin next week, say hello to me and my giant belly!

Thanks for listening,


source: Blogger


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Jeff and I went down to see Robert Hodgin & Aaron Toblin's exhibit at GAFFTA a couple weeks ago. They are both such awesome artists. I'm really excited to be collaborating with Robert for the 2010 01SJ Biennial in September. We're going to put on a joint performance. The spiel:

"Composition for the ears meets composition for the eyes in an organic, evolving world of sight and sound. Zoë Keating will create a lush soundscape of live, layered cello, which Robert Hodgin will translate into light. "

While we were there, I finally saw the SFMOMA posters in the MUNI station that everyone's been talking about. I really wanted to steal one, but I refrained.

However, I doubt you will find the poster the most interesting thing about this photo ....


Yes, its true! We're expecting a baby in MAY! So, if you see me over the next couple months, please don't think my latest hippo-look is just because I've gone all crazy with the chocolate ice cream (although I admit I have felt compelled to eat a fair amount of it over the last few months).

source: Blogger

NEW ALBUM news & SFMOMA concert

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

NEW ALBUM news & SFMOMA concert

Hello my friends...

A very happy New Year to you!! 2010 feels like a very futuristic number. Are we in the future yet?

I have so many things to tell you that I'm going to have to break it up over several posts.

But to start....

***MY NEW ALBUM*** is called "Into the Trees"
I've selected March 1st as the release date. Much more about that next week!!! Please stay tuned...

Other things....

- "In C Remixed", which is an album of remixes of Terry Riley's "In C" as performed by the GVSU New Music Ensemble (with pieces by me, Jad Abumrad, David Lang, Mason Bates, DJ Spooky...many others) was named one of the top 10 classical albums of the year by the Washington Post. Here's where to get a copy.

- I did some cello arrangements for a new song by Curt Smith (who you might know from Tears For Fears). Its called "All Is Love" and will be released on Jan 24th.

- I recorded cello on this lovely little song by a new band called Pomplamoose

- For the 75th anniversary of the SFMOMA, I wrote some music to go with 2 works in their permanent collection (Rothko "No, 14, 1960" and Ellsworth Kelly "Stele 1"). The music will be included in the museum's launch of a multimedia tour of the collection, be available on your own handheld devices, such as cell phones and MP3 players, and as an application for iPhones. The app will launch on their anniversary weekend, Jan 16.

And speaking of January 16.....

- FREE concert at the SFMOMA with Loop!Station and Matmos.

I'm looking forward to performing for you, then listening to some music, maybe having a sip of wine while walking around the museum...and its all free.
I'm playing first, so make sure you come early, or you might miss me!

Saturday, January 16, SFMOMA, Haas Atrium 6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Zoë Keating at 7:00 p.m.
Loop!Station at 8:00 p.m.
Matmos at 9:30 p.m.

Museum and program admission are free.


Thank you so much for listening. In preparation for my next release, I did a detailed tally of albums sold and its almost 30,000 (breaks down to 64% digtial and 36% physical) !!! Not bad for no record label, marketing or publicity...and especially considering my 100% lack of "strategy" other than "be myself". I know that many of you have bought CDs multiple times just to support me. I keep thinking that I'll have to eventually go back to working my tech job, and each year, I'm amazed that this music thing is working out. Really, I can't thank you enough!

very humbly yours,


source: Blogger

Deep thoughts on my music career

Monday, September 28, 2009

Deep thoughts on my music career

I went down to San Jose last week to do an interview and performance on the NBC Bay Area show Press:Here. The host, Scott McGrew was awesome for making the whole thing happen. The piece aired on TV this morning (its also available on the web here) and one of the interviewers also wrote about it for TechCrunch.

The interview went by so fast, and there was such much I wanted to say that I didn't get in because I was so flustered. Thankfully, that's what blogs are for: a chance to elaborate. Here are some of the questions I was asked, and how I would have liked to answer them if I had had my wits about me and an hour instead of a few minutes.

Thank you Scott McGrew and everyone at Press: Here TV and thank you Sarah Lacy for the follow up story. These things really help, they really do.

Do you feel like you've sold out in licensing your music?

Nope. Basically I think "selling out" is when you compromise your creative ideals in exchange for money. I have never done that, so I don't think I'm selling out.

I've been lucky that the companies who've wanted to use my music are selling things that I approve of, like Apple, Specialized Bikes, and Herman Miller. Second, in every single case, I didn't solicit them. The people making the commercials found me and asked if they could use my already existing music, or if I could tweak something to fit. Thankfully I haven't had a situation yet where I've had moral problems with the company (i.e. Exxon).

The film work I've done has been custom in that I've had to write to the movie. But I don't feel like I'm selling out there either. Directors ask me to write for their films because they want a certain style that I presumably have. I would never compose anything out of character. Its all MY music and I think its recognizable as such. If someone approached me wanting me to write a score of salsa music, well, I'd turn them down...because I don't write salsa music.

How did you get 1 million followers on Twitter?

I've been very upfront about this. I've written about it, the SF Chronicle and Billboard magazine have written about it: I am on the Twitter Suggested User List! I don't know how I got there, or how (or if) I deserve it...but of course its incredible and I'm grateful and I should probably give Twitter a cut of my income if it makes me a lot more money than normal (I don't know yet if that is the case).

I will say however that I don't think this all this is a big deal. I honestly don't believe that 1 million people are listening to everything I say. I use Twitter to talk to whatever subset of that million is my friends, fans and potential fans.

What is great about Twitter is that, like I said in the interview, it allows me to be myself to as many people as possible. Me and my music are the same thing and I've always had this stubborn, egotistical belief that if I just had a chance to get the real me across....people would be interested. The belief that what I'm doing is worthwhile, even if no one hears it, has sustained me through a lot of rejections and hard times.

I doubt my current career would be possible without the internet. Thanks to social networks I can have what feels like a direct relationship with an increasingly vast audience. There is no middleman.

If a label approached you with a huge record contract, would you take it?

No. There are so many reasons....

I can't help noticing that most of the signed musicians I've known are broke or struggling. Those on small labels keep their day jobs. Mid-level bands, they run through their advance quickly and then they make a living by touring constantly so that they can sell t-shirts. It will be several millennia before the amount they owe the record label is recouped out of the band's royalty, and they don't own the recordings. New music/modern classical artists seem to sustain themselves with teaching and maybe performing as they get more well known.

Then there are the bands I know who've been dropped as soon as their sales dip. I know bands who've been majorly screwed by this: they recorded followup albums that never saw the light of day, or had nervous breakdowns. A basic financial decision to a company can feel like a matter of life or death to an artist.

So I've just watched all this and since I'm realistic that my brand of instrumental cello music is never going to go platinum anyway, I might as well save myself some suffering, release it myself and keep all the money.

I didn't always think this way. I used to feel like landing a recording contract was like a "stamp of approval" and I wanted that approval. Back when I was starting out my solo career, Myspace didn't exist yet. The standard wisdom was that the way to success was to build a local following and strive to get the attention of a record label. I spent some time and energy sending my music unsolicited to record labels, agents and managers that I thought would be a good fit for me. Of course I didn't hear back from most of them. I did hear back from two labels that were kind enough to reply. They both said that I didn't fit with the other artists on their roster.

Since then, I've had industry executives tell me very respectfully the following things: my music is interesting but not marketable; my music can't be sold because it doesn't have words & it lacks a single, simple melody for people to latch onto; and I am not young/not sexy enough/too nerdy. I've had classical industry people tell me that my music is too pop. I've had pop industry people tell me my music is too classical. And by the way, what category am I in and can I name any similar artists? The music industry seems entirely focused on releasing albums that are similar to albums that have sold before.

Very quickly, it became clear that I would never fit on any label without serious I stopped trying. I didn't bother to hire someone to craft a "story" that would fit me into a neat little bucket. I just focused on playing music and selling my CDs at shows and on my website, and on Amazon, CDBaby, iTunes, Rhapsody, etc.

I'm not trashing record labels. They perform a useful service for many artists. But I don't think the model works for me. I think of recording contracts as very, very expensive bank loans. In the future, if I need extra money to make an album, I'm more likely to try and raise it by appealing to my fans.

Because there aren't very many mouths to feed, I don't feel any pressure to continually be selling more, more, more. I have never done an ounce of official marketing or publicity. I make enough to pay the mortgage, the bills, go out to dinner and a movie every now and then, go on vacation and save money for the future. I'm not rich, my car is old, but I have enough to live well and not be continually worried about money. That's really all I want. I want to exist and keep making more music. I'm in this for the long haul. Slow and steady is fine by me.

How do you make a living?

I realized that I should probably know the exact percentage breakdown of my finances before I answer questions on television. I just went and looked up all my tax returns, looking from Dec 2005 when I released my Natoma album until today. Averaged over that almost 4 year period, roughly speaking, digital sales have totaled 40% my income. Of the remaining 60%, maybe a quarter of that is physical sales and the other 3/4 is licensing, commissions, performance fees, grants, and royalties. That's all 4 years together. This year physical sales and performance fees are much less because I've spent most of the year in the studio and not performing (that's the deal... if you're out there performing, you sell music, but then you can't write music). But digital sales and licensing has been much higher and made up for it. This year has been my best year ever, I'm guessing because of my internet presence.

I'm optimistic about the future. However, the entire situation is constantly changing and I know I can't keep all my eggs in one basket. So if by this time next year everyone has migrated to subscription music services, I'd better find a substitute for the digital chunk of my income. I don't want to start selling T-shirts, which I've resisted to date. I do know it helps when people know that by purchasing my music they are supporting me directly, that each CD sold is a vote for me to continue as an artist.

Phew! That's it!

I'd love to hear your comments about all of the above!

source: Blogger

Billboard Mag story

Monday, May 25, 2009

Billboard Mag story

The press gods have been smiling on me recently. I'm sure it won't last, so if you are near a magazine shop this week, pick up a copy of Billboard Magazine and you will find in there a picture of me with a wee story.

Billboard: Tweet Child O' Mine

(one detail about the story I feel the need to correct: my so-called "sales" figures. As you know, I don't have a record label and sell the majority of my CDs through my own website and at shows. Because individuals have to jump through such hoops to report sales to Soundscan, I don't. I never saw any point. Anyway, the sales figures they mention in the article can only be be digital....unless Soundscan is omnipresent and knows what people buy directly from me on Paypal. The article failed to mention that detail.)

Thank you again for coming to see me in April and selling out the Old First Church. I never believe there will be more than two people in the audience, so you really surprised me.

Since I forgot to say anything about it at the April show (doh!) just a reminder that I'll be doing it all again (sans Charles Rus, alas) at the Great American Music Hall on Thursday, June 4th. I'm opening for Amy X Neuberg and her cello chiXtet. Its an early night, the doors are at 7:30 and I play at 8pm.

Amy X Neuberg & the Cello ChiXtet
Zoe Keating

"Amy X Neuburg & The Cello ChiXtet celebrate the CD release of "The Secret Language of Subways" -- an 'avant-cabaret' song cycle for voice and 3 cellos, with live electronic percussion, looping and processing. Opening the show will be the incomparable Zoë Keating performing her one-woman orchestra of solo works for layered cello. "

Thursday, June 4th
Great American Music Hall
859 Ofarrell St
San Francisco, CA 94109

Doors 7:30, Show at 8

advance tickets at: GAMHTicket

Thank you!

celloly yours,


source: Blogger

Wired and Woodpeckers

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wired and Woodpeckers

Hello Everyone,

The cello and I have a few things we'd like to tell you about....


A few weeks ago Dylan Tweney, the Wired "Gadget Lab" editor, and a video crew, made the windy trek up to my forest studio north of San Francisco. We talked about composition and information architecture and I played a few songs. The result was captured in these THREE videos now up on the Wired website.

Here they are


You've heard me talk about Scott Crocker's film "Ghost Bird" that I wrote music for last year. Well, the official world premier is happening this week at the Toronto Hot Docs Festival. "Ghost Bird" will be screening Wed May 6th and Friday May 8th. I realize most of you are not in Toronto, so, for your listening pleasure, here is some of the never-before-released music that I made for the film

And, for those of you in Toronto: screening info


And lastly, tickets are onsale for my performance on June 4th at the Great American Music Hall. I'll be sharing a bill with Amy X Neuberg and her cello chiXtet for her CD release party. So yes, a cello extravaganza!

Tickets here

Ok, sorry to be so brief.....back to work with me....(on that album I won't even talk about until its DONE)

Thank you very much!

Celloly yours,


source: Blogger

Australia report, SF Concerts, film news

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Australia report, SF Concerts, film news

Hello my cello friends,

Australia was amazing. I've been back for two weeks now and already I'm wondering if that really happened. Did I really go sunbathing on a perfect white beach and then swim in the Indian ocean, on the same day as a show? Did I really play four nights at the Sydney Opera House? I loved the people I met, the coffee, the light, the food. Fantastic.

Touring is wonderful, its one of my favorite things about my job, but it can be maddening when you are a "slow" traveller like myself. I like to explore every nook and cranny of a place, preferably over a period of weeks. I like to buy fish and vegetables in the local markets. I like to sit in cafes and learn bits of history or language from locals who will humor me. But on tour, especially one where I'm in a different city every day, I might have only a couple hours, if that, to absorb as much atmosphere as possible. I spend those precious hours alone, getting drunk on scenery, gorging myself on whatever local delicacies I can find. Sometimes I think I'm invisible, am I really here? Then, I race back to the venue to setup my equipment, soundcheck, and start the evening's work. All these delicious glimpses of a place make me fantasize about the adventures I will have when I come back. That list of places is now impossibly long. I've written about this before, but I really felt it keenly in Australia.

Anyway, back to the present. I have some nice bits of news to report.

First, Scott Crocker's documentary "Ghost Bird" was accepted into the Toronto HotDocs festival. I composed and recorded the soundtrack and I am very happy with the music. I would like to come out for the screening, and so I'm trying to arrange a performance in Toronto around that time. More details soon I hope. Until then, here is info about when the film will be screening:

Ghost Bird screening times

Next, I have a couple of performances coming up in San Francisco!

April 24th with organist Charles Rus.
This is a very special concert. Charles is an old friend, he's an uber talented organist and all-round amazing human being who lives and breathes music. He recently moved to Seattle, but prior to that he played organ with the San Francisco Symphony. We'll be doing a joint performance that will include my solo layered cello music, some modern and classical works for solo pipe organ (i.e. Phillip Glass and Bach), some duets and some cello plus pipe organ ambient improvisation.

Friday, April 24th
8:00 pm
Zoe Keating & Charles Rus

Old First Church
1751 Sacramento St. (at Van Ness Ave)
San Francisco, CA

Tickets are available in advance here

June 4 with Amy X Neuberg
Amy is another amazing musician I've known for a while. She is celebrating the release of a new CD with a performance with her Cello ChiXtet at the Great American Music Hall. I will be opening the show and playing the 1st half of the evening. So an all-cello, all-the-time, evening at my favorite local venue.

Thursday, June 4th
doors 7:30
show 8:00pm

Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Tickets are available in advance here

That's it for now! I'm looking forward to playing in San Francsico again. Its been a while.

Thank you for listening.

Celloly yours,


source: Blogger

Creative Capital performing arts grant

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Creative Capital performing arts grant

20 Jan 2009

Hello everyone.

I'm still somewhat stunned by this news...

...Jeff Rusch and I were awarded a performing arts grant by the Creative Capital Foundation! The initial grant is for $10,000 and we are eligible for up to $50,000 over the course of the project. In addition to funding for our project, which I'll tell you about in a minute, we also get to participate in Creative Capital’s Artist Services Program. The program "offers artists assistance in areas like as fundraising, networking, marketing, and strategic planning, with the goal of advancing both their projects and their careers".

Um, WOW. The application process spanned several months last year and it seemed like such a long shot that I tried not to get my hopes up too much. In fact, I had put the grant out of my mind entirely and assumed we would do our project this year without funding. So when I got the phone call, I happened to be at a restaurant at the time, and I promptly lay down on the floor in shock.

What is the project? It is to create a live synaesthetic presentation of my music. Jeff and I will be taking one step further the work we have done together in the past with our layered cello-plus-video performances in San Francisco, in Italy, and in France. The goal is to create an ideal live performance environment in which you, the audience, can experience a version of what I see in my mind's eye as I play.

I'm very grateful. The first meetings with Creative Capital are this week. The work begins!

Obviously, I'll keep you posted on all this as it develops. If all goes well we should be ready to perform in November.

2008 went out with a bang. I had a great time on tour with Amanda Palmer and the Danger Ensemble. I really love performing, and also I love to travel. Its already a blur of warm fuzzy memories. A special treat this time around was that I got to tour with my sister Laura and her pregnant belly (she is Amanda's as merch girl extraordinaire).

Now I'm also very eager to be back in my studio because being in my studio means I can WORK ON MY ALBUM, which I haven't been here to do since August. I've been tinkering away on it the last 2 weeks, hopefully productively!

Thanks very much for listening. I know these are tough times for a lot of people, but watching the inauguration today gave me so much hope.

celloly yours, Zoe

source: Blogger

A Ballet in Valencia

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Ballet in Valencia

It is 6am and I am wide awake here in my temporary apartment on a quiet medieval street in Valencia, Spain. It is so beautiful! Its like a stone stage set. I am still having difficulty believing I am here.

How it happened....the choreographer Asun Noales discovered my music on iTunes. She choreographed a ballet to "Updraught", "Legions (War)" and "Frozen Angels". Then she was invited to put on the ballet at the Teatro Principal here in Valencia so the music director of the theater contacted me to see if I could produce sheet music for orchestra. However, because I didn't have time to do that (because I was leaving the following day to play at MIT and then join Amanda Palmer's European tour) they asked me to come do it live.

Hmmm...let me think hard about that one...a two week trip to Valencia, Spain to perform with a ballet company in a grand theater that is a copy of La Scala in about....FUCK YES?!

So here I am. I've stayed up nearly every night the last 4 days making the music perfect. I'm finally ready, which is good because the premier is today.

Here are the details if any of you happen to be in Spain over the next week (come on, the weather is lovely and the food here is fantastic!).


danced by the Ballet de Teatres de la Generalitat
choreography by Asun Noales

live music by Zoe Keating

Teatro Principal
Valencia, Spain

Nov 20, 21, 22 and 28 at 9pm

Nov 23, 26 and 27 at 7pm

10 to 20 Euro

tickets here:

Celloly yours from Spain,


source: Blogger

Live videos from Paris

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Live videos from Paris

Here are two videos from my performance in Paris last week at La Boule Noire. Thank you Fanch Oriant and Alexandra Opillard for taking video! Also, these two songs are still untitled...if you have any suggestions, write to me!

source: Blogger

My schedule for the rest of the year

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My schedule for the rest of the year


I'm writing this from Paris, where I just spent a lovely day wandering with my sister. Because we're here on tour we had no plans, which is kind of nice. We headed off in the most appealing direction and went from pastry shop to pastry shop until we found ourselves at the Louvre. Then we strolled along the Seine to Notre Dame and wound up the day in the Latin quarter. I have to say, it is days like today when I LOVE MY JOB. I think we stopped for crepes at least three times.

The concert is tomorrow at La Boule Noire in Montmartre and that's my last performance on this leg of the Who Killed Amanda Palmer Tour. Amanda and the Danger Ensemble will continue on to Belgium and the Netherlands, but I must get myself to Chicago for another live installment of Radio Lab on Oct 26 and 27. You might remember last year I performed with Radio Lab in St. Paul Minnesota for their deconstruction of War of The Worlds. They are reprising the show, for two nights, at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago and I am providing live music. Details below!

Then, in November I'll be in Spain working on live music for a ballet. It will run from Nov 20 to Nov 28 at the Teatro Principal in Valencia. And immediately following that, I rejoin Amanda Palmer in Toronto on Nov 30 for the rest of her North American tour which ends on Dec 16 at the Henry Fonda Theater in LA.

That's the scoop! All the dates are below...and will be on my website as soon as I have internet for more than 30 minutes!

Thank you to everyone in Europe who came to see us. I've had an amazing time. Its all still a bit of a blur, but there were so many amazing moments, and audiences. I will certainly be back.

celloly yours, Zoe

Oct 26, Oct 27
RadioLab Live!
Chicago: Victory Gardens Theater

Victory Gardens Theater Fresh Squeezed and WNYC's Radio Lab will present Martian Invasion! Decoding the War of the Worlds, on the eve of the War of the Worlds 70th anniversary, at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, October 26 and 27.
Radio Lab hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich will deconstruct the original broadcast of War of the Worlds and describe what was happening-sociologically and psychologically-at each step. The program will be accompanied by cellist Zoe Keating.

more info:

Nov 20 to Nov 28
performing live with the Ballet de Teatres de la Generalitat
Teatro Principal, Valencia, Spain


Who Killed Amanda Palmer - North American Tour
(supporting and accompanying Amanda Palmer on all dates)

Nov 30, Toronto, Ontario: Mod Club Theatre
Dec 2, Ferndale, Michigan: Magic Bag:
Dec 3, Chicago, Illinois: Cabaret Metro
Dec 5, Minneapolis, Minnesota: First Avenue Nightclub
Dec 6, Denver, Colorado: Bluebird Theatre
Dec 7, Apsen, Colorado: Belly Up
Dec 8, Murray, Utah: Murray Theatre
Dec 10, Vancouver, BC: Richard’s On Richards Cabaret
Dec 11, Seattle, Washington: Showbox Theatre
Dec 12, Portland, Oregon: Wonder Ballroom
Dec 13, Sacramento, California: Harlow’s
Dec 15, San Francisco, California: Bimbo’s 365 Club
Dec 16, Los Angeles, California: Henry Fonda Theatre

source: Blogger

for booking inquiries, write to: info (at)