Interview with Composer, M. Zachary Johnson

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Greg Zeigerson speaks with Composer, M. Zachary Johnson, about his work, music concepts, and the Arts today.


Topics covered include …

The new CD – “Saxophone Music of M. Zachary Johnson Live at Steinway Hall” – which can be purchased through

An interesting collaboration with saxophone player, Brian Horner. Using an image to keep a musical theme on track while composing. What does “Romanticism” mean in music? Contrasting tonality and atonality.

Ayn Rand’s hypothesis about how music affects emotions. How did M. Zachary Johnson get interested in classical music? Government funding for the arts: should artists refuse such funding? Should the National Endowment for the Arts exist? Is it all right for artists to accept funding from the NEA?

Are audiences for classical music shrinking and getting older – as many claim? The concepts of “serious” music and “popular” music. Why is there a small audience for serious music today? Today’s style of performing classical music – what’s the matter with it?

What is “rubato”? Why is it important in conducting and performing? Why is it missing from performances today? Playing “on the page”.

Optimism about the trend of music in the future. What is M. Zachary Johnson working on now?

What Robert Tracinski, editor of The Intellectual Activist, wrote about M. Zachary Johnson’s work:

The sound [M. Zachary Johnson] creates is something entirely new: the richness and lyricism of the Romantics, rendered on an entirely different instrument, with a unique timbre and ‘voice.’ … The Scherzo’s minor key, a rhythm that moves in unpredictable stops and starts, and a melodic line that is constantly darting up and down the scale, never quite coming to rest, all combine to create a sense of mystery and intrigue … ‘Solitude’ … is more contemplative … the rich harmonies and slow, thoughtful pace give the sense of being admitted to a man’s private thoughts and reminiscences … I found myself involuntarily humming its melody … enough complexity to keep the mind constantly engaged, but with enough unity to be grasped and remembered as a single whole … The Scherzo from the Quintet for Saxophones & Piano is a fast-moving piece with a driving rhythm that keeps building to a powerful crescendo … I was astonished by the sense of explosive energy this piece was able to create.

Click here to listen to musical samples or to purchase M. Zachary Johson’s CD.

Listen, download or podcast this interview

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