Zoe Keating is kind of awesome. I need to spend some more time getting to know her music. I spent my first waking hour this morning listening to her appearance on Radiolab.

I admire so much the way she’s been able to use her skills as a cellist and a composer to develop her own unique musical voice. Although she’s classically trained, it doesn’t sound like she uses notation much. Her creative process seems much more sound-based and experiential: play this, play something else with it, repeat. I think this is a process I could get into; the idea of learning how to use Sibelius at the ripe old age of 27 seems overwhelming to me.

On Radiolab, she was laughing and talking about her frustration writing music for others: “How do you notate THIS?” (slaps side of cello) “Or THIS?” (bounces bow rhythmically on the strings). She should talk to some of my composer friends! It’s likely Zoe didn’t get to play much new music during her training in the 1980’s — which is too bad. Although her compositions are firmly in the realm of pop, she has an amazing ear for timbre, and she gets a wide range of great sounds out of her instrument. I’d love to see how contemporary composers would influence her music.Who knows, maybe she’s a huge Marcos Balter fan.

People are wildly enthusiastic about her music. They love it.

So where do I get my looping pedal?

Photo of Zoe by Nadya Lev. 

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