John Zorn & Jonathan Zorn

If the two Zorns are kin, Jonathan Zorn hasn’t seen fit to mention it in his own “short bio” (silence on the matter can’t hurt his career, can it ?) –

Jonathan Zorn is a composer, performer, and curator of experimental, electronic, and improvised music. His electronic music pairs improvising musicians with interactive computer systems to create hybrid, human-machine ensembles. Zorn’s interest in vocal utterance has resulted in a series of pieces in which spoken language is interrupted by electronic forces, drawing attention to the gap between speech and sound. He is currently working on a suite of electroacoustic sound/text performance pieces. Zorn has been active as an improvisor on bass and electronics for 15 years and has performed at Red Cat, the Walker Art Center, the Verona Jazz Festival, the Library of Congress, the Seattle Festival of Improvised Music, Line Space Line Festival, and the Chelsea Art Museum. He has performed under the direction of Anthony Braxton, Alvin Lucier, Fred Frith, and Alison Knowles. His work has been published in Ord und Bild, the SEAMUS Journal, Notations 21, and UbuWeb.


Somebody sort of asks a similar question here, but there is no reply as yet –

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:09 am    Post subject:

asterisk wrote:
im releasing a cassette soon of ARP 2500 music by jonathan zorn which was recorded at the university of virginia – charlottesville electronic music studios
its really good and he makes great use of that amazing filter!i wish i could play a 2500 someday.
Sounds interesting – lucky I still have a cassette deck under the bed.
Would that be the John Zorn -the famous avant-garde composer?
Both musicians are drawn to modern classical music, accordions, jazz dissonance and found sound. As for the more famous composer, neither the Wikipedia “John Zorn” article nor its connected Talk page mentions any family members by name :
It looks like the other guy is just not saying –
Reviewers have fun with it (which is of no help to us of course) –

Can’t decide if it’s a blessing or a curse to be called J. Zorn and work in new music, but don’t confuse Connecticut-based composer Jonathan Zorn, currently serving time in the hothouse of Wesleyan (where of course he’s performed with Anthony Braxton, amongst others), with the other one.

Non-committal references are frustrating –

keyboard players (Gust Burns and Jonathan Zorn — not to be confused with avant-garde composer John Zorn)

More frustration and confusion on a huge thread –

Oct 7, 2011 1:03pm

Sorry, this has been distracting me. Are you THE John Zorn or is that handle a joke or something? I need to know.

Another near miss –

R: R: I: hello – introduction
> > > Jonathan Zorn accordion; bass
> >
> > really?
> >
> Oh–I just realized you may be thinking of John Zorn the saxophonist.
> This is not the same person!
no… I was not thinking of John Zorn. I met Jonathan and gave his solo
record; I didnt know he was playing accordion too, that’s it.

Finally, here is some bit of detail on a Todd S. Jenkins page that refers to music from Middletown, and Jonathan Zorn did mention Middletown –

Middletown Creative Orchestra:

ensemble. Founded at Wesleyan University by a number of Anthony Braxton’s students, the Middletown Creative Orchestra is one of the more adventurous big bands on the East Coast today. The group’s personnel have included altoists Seth Misterka and Jackson Moore, bassist Jonathan Zorn (no relation to the reedman/composer) . . .

Another reviewer concurs (Ah, but are they correct ?- What if there is a third-cousin kinship that the reviewers didn’t know about ?- or that the composers themselves were not aware of ?- Ah !) –

Kenny G Meets John Zorn “Slobodan Milosevic and Kenny G” (MP3)
It’s no secret that our own Kenny G (taking the Fall 07 schedule off right now) loves to read letters he gets from people thinking he’s the other guy. He recently met up with Jonathan Zorn, an experimental musician and no relation. They decided to collaborate on a CD, from which this MP3 is taken. It won’t be on Tzadik.

Another page reprints a couple of letters regarding a musical collaboration which actually hinges, in part, on the similarity of the two names :

In the summer of 2007, I gave a reading at a church in Amherst, Massachusetts. I began the reading, as I ordinarily do, with a bunch of letters I get at WFMU (where I am a DJ going by the name of Kenny G) intended for the other Kenny G. (You can read more about these letters and view several of them here at the Brooklyn Rail). After the reading, a young man came up to me with his hand outstretched and said, “Kenny G. May I introduce myself. I’m John Zorn.” Now, I know what John Zorn looks like and, friends, this was not that John Zorn. As it turned out, he was the other John Zorn, better known as the composer Jonathan Zorn. We immediately looked at each other and realized that we just had to do a collaboration, the fruits of which appear here. I simply read several of my Kenny G letters and sent the files to Mr. Zorn to work his magic on.All of these are true. I haven’t touched ’em. None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. All resemblances to persons living or dead are entirely uncoincidental. Rock on!
Kenneth Goldsmith
New York City, November 2007
The Kenny G Letters (2007)
voice: Kenneth Goldsmith, electronics: Jonathan Zorn, saxophone samples: Kenny G Duotones and John Zorn The Classic Guide to Strategy.
Since the beginning of my involvement in experimental and improvised music I’ve known that eventually I would have to creatively address the peculiarity of being the “other” Jo(h)n Zorn. So when Kenneth Goldsmith (the other Kenny G) asked me to set the Kenny G Letters to music it seemed like the perfect project for playing with my name. I said yes right away and then had to think for awhile as to what setting a text would mean in the context of my compositional activity. Much of my recent work had been in developing interactive computer music systems for small ensembles, and we agreed that I should in some way use samples that alluded to our various “other” names, so it seemed fitting to approach this project in a similar way to my interactive pieces and think of the overall sound as a trio of voice and two saxophones with live electronics. I set about the task of creating eight different systems that could listen to all three players and respond to coincidences and relations between them. Some of the letters, such as the one from the Brazilian fan seeking Miami Sound Machine lyrics, immediately suggested processes from previous pieces, in this case the repetitive nature of the spoken lyrics suggested adapting the program I created for Talking/Typing. Since I knew these would be first and foremost recorded pieces and not necessarily performance pieces, I felt that I should continue these processes in ways beyond what I could do in a live performance. In some cases I carried out the processes multiple times with different variations leading to dense multi-layered textures of electronic sound. In others I re-entered the processed tracks in the same system with different relations to create more complex correspondences between the voice and sampled sounds. The challenge for me in working with the letters was to continue along the lines of my previous pieces with voice and electronics while keeping the voice as intelligible as possible. In many of my previous pieces I tend to obscure the voice and break up the syntax. In the Letters no matter how complex the processes became they were all done with the aim that the voice should remain for the most part intelligible, so that the listener might enjoy the sounds as well as the bizarreness of the letters.
Jonathan Zorn
Charlottesville, VA, November 2007
Jonathan Zorn is a composer/sound artist/performer from Middletown, CT. He likes to make sounds using his voice, double bass, accordion, modular synthesizer, and computer. His compositions involve systems of interaction that exceed the control of any single participant, creating surprises for performers, audience, and composer. He has studied with Alvin Lucier, Anthony Braxton, Ron Kuivila, and Jon Barlow. Jonathan maintains several ongoing collaborative projects with artists and performers around the country including Rachel Thompson, David Kendall, Andrew Lafkas, Bryan Eubanks, and Katherine Young.


Hoping this helped somebody’s research.











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