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ZIPPERZ (World Premiere Cast Recording)

ZIPPERZ (World Premiere Cast Recording)

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Album Description Video Track List Album Credits Events Press Reviews
The World Premiere Recording of ZIPPERZ is available now everywhere music is sold.

The ZIPPERZ album features a full color booklet with a synopsis and liner notes from composer Nathaniel Stookey. The recording is produced by Nathaniel Stookey with Minna Choi and Andrew Vernon serving as co-producers.

ZIPPERZ, a hip and edgy romantic comedy for two singers and symphony orchestra, is a “dream come true for any lover of music and the written word” (SFist). The album, starring Manoel Felciano and Robin Coomer, tells the story of a love affair from two different perspectives at the same time through “dance numbers, pop ballads, and terse little melodic interchanges” (San Francisco Chronicle).

“Nathaniel Stookey is the composer of the hour,” raves 21st Century Music. “With a growing list of compositions that includes The Composer Is Dead with Lemony Snicket, Junkestra for found percussion, and incidental music to Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Stookey has struck it rich again with a brilliant ZIPPERZ. Dan Harder's "zipper" poems provide the libretto, presenting a love story simultaneously from the perspectives of both lovers, in interlocking lines that yield third meanings when combined.”

The creative team of ZIPPERZ also includes Donato Cabrera (Conductor), Minna Choi (Artistic Director, Magik*Magik Orchestra), and Jeff Mars (drums).

ZIPPERZ tells the story of two singers at a club that’s been there for as long as anyone can remember. Night after night, they put on the same boy-meets-girl routine, but tonight, at intermission, their carefully rehearsed set takes an unexpected turn. The insightful and unique structure of Stookey and Harder’s piece– like being inside two people’s heads at the same time – brings out the complex he-said-she-said of a blossoming relationship.

ZIPPERZ was commissioned and premiered by The Oakland Symphony, with funding from The Baker Street Foundation.

A note about ZIPPERZ from Nathaniel Stookey:
One of the things that makes music different from a drunken dinner party is that in music, everyone can talk at once and still make perfect sense. Two or more musicians can play different notes in different rhythms – literally against each other, in counterpoint – and yield something that is not only clearly intelligible but also mysteriously enhanced. I had never encountered anything like counterpoint outside music until my friend and longtime collaborator Dan Harder sent me some of his “zippers” – pairs of poems that can be read separately, left and right, or zipped together by alternating lines, like this:

I couldn’t resist the temptation to marry Dan’s counterpoint with mine, and with a name like ZIPPERZ, it would of course have to involve getting naked. So I asked Dan for a love story that would zip and unzip in as many ways as we could dream up.

The result isn’t a conversation. It’s more like being inside two people’s heads at the same time. You’re getting both sides of the story – the he-said in one ear and the she-said in the other – but they’re usually worlds apart, on separate channels, so to speak, and in the case of this recording quite literally. (You could pan hard left or hard right and get a very one-sided view of things.)

The other key player here is the orchestra, which is pretty shamelessly flexing its muscle as the biggest, baddest live band on earth. If there is any limit to what a symphony orchestra can do, I have yet to discover it. And though this album is produced to sound in-your-head (if not downright in-your-face), ZIPPERZ is live music through and through. It was commissioned by Michael Morgan and his ever-cool Oakland Symphony and premiered, with Manoel Felciano and Eisa Davis, at the Paramount in downtown Oakland.




1. Well, isn’t he polite?
2. But, wait, that was a glance…
3. Well, that wasn’t so hard!
4. But I don’t call
5. Well, fella, two can play at that game
6. Hello, it’s… Yes?
7. Any first date is a strange thing
8. Like the two sides of an emotional equation
9. Suddenly
10. Oh, god, this wasn’t supposed to happen
11. We kiss
12. Duet for two cigarettes
13. But now, what do we do?
14. Excuse me, dear
15. Love is blind
16. I’ve thought and thought
17. If
NATHANIEL STOOKEY, the composer hailed by All Music as “a highly imaginative and original talent,” has worked with a dizzying array of collaborators, from The Mars Volta – on their Grammy-winning album The Bedlam in Goliath – to the world’s great symphony orchestras. Stookey’s signature work, The Composer is Dead (with text by Lemony Snicket), has been performed by hundreds of orchestras on five continents and cited by BBC commentator Norman Lebrecht as one of the five most performed orchestral works of the 21st century, worldwide. Other recent collaborators have included Kronos Quartet, Frederica Von Stade, and Jonathan Aibel – co-writer of the Kung-Fu Panda franchise– with whom Stookey is creating an original comic opera entitled High Resolution. Of Stookey’s music for Tony-winning director John Doyle’s production of Caucasian Chalk Circle, Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times raved “I can’t recall when I’ve found a music drama this eclectically satisfying.” 

DAN HARDER is a poet/playwright whose most recent theatrical work, A Killer Story, was described by the San Jose Mercury News as “a crackling noir” whose “snappy banter and overlapping dialogue pops like gunfire.” Harder has published three books of poetry: Rave (Back Alley Press), Generous Misgivings (Studio 301), and Askew: Found and Lost in the Almost South of France (Pince-Nez Press), the last of which was selected by the Oulipo group to be included in their collection of experimental poetry at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.  

MANOEL FELCIANO, best known for his Tony-nominated performance as Tobias in Sweeney Todd, has appeared on Broadway in Amélie, Brooklyn, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Cabaret, and Off Broadway in The Changeling (Red Bull Theater), Trumpery (Atlantic Theater Company), Shockheaded Peter, and Much Ado About Nothing (New York Shakespeare Festival). Felciano’s regional credits include the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons with Tyne Daly (Bucks County Playhouse), The Exorcist with Brooke Shields (Geffen Playhouse), Elektra with Olympia Dukakis (Getty Villa), George in Sunday in the Park with George directed by Jason Alexander, and Tateh in Ragtime at The Kennedy Center.

ROBIN COOMER, as a founding member of Loop!Station, has appeared at Outside Lands (San Francisco), Bumbershoot (Seattle), and Vegoose (Las Vegas), sharing the stage with such groundbreaking artists as David Byrne and Thomas Dolby. In addition to 4 studio releases, Loop!Station has created full-length commissioned works for San Jose Ballet and the permanent collection of SFMOMA. Coomer has appeared on recordings with Third-Eye Blind and guitarist Eric McFadden, among many others. Her most recent project is the concept band Shakewell, with Pat McDonald of Timbuk 3.  

DONATO CABRERA is the Music Director of the California Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, co-founder of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, and served as the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony from 2009-2016. Cabrera has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, among many others. He is equally at home in opera, having conducted multiple performances at the San Francisco Opera, and worked on productions at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

MAGIK* MAGIK ORCHESTRA, founded by artistic director Minna Choi, has collaborated with over 150 artists including Death Cab for Cutie, Jonny Greenwood, Sting, Nick Cave, Third Eye Blind, Weezer, The Dodos, John Vanderslice, The Walkmen, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, and cellist Zoë Keating.
The World Premiere Recording of ZIPPERZ is available now everywhere music is sold.

The ZIPPERZ album features a full color booklet with a synopsis and liner notes from composer Nathaniel Stookey. The recording is produced by Nathaniel Stookey with Minna Choi and Andrew Vernon serving as co-producers.

ZIPPERZ, a hip and edgy romantic comedy for two singers and symphony orchestra, is a “dream come true for any lover of music and the written word” (SFist). The album, starring Manoel Felciano and Robin Coomer, tells the story of a love affair from two different perspectives at the same time through “dance numbers, pop ballads, and terse little melodic interchanges” (San Francisco Chronicle).

“Nathaniel Stookey is the composer of the hour,” raves 21st Century Music. “With a growing list of compositions that includes The Composer Is Dead with Lemony Snicket, Junkestra for found percussion, and incidental music to Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Stookey has struck it rich again with a brilliant ZIPPERZ. Dan Harder's "zipper" poems provide the libretto, presenting a love story simultaneously from the perspectives of both lovers, in interlocking lines that yield third meanings when combined.”

The creative team of ZIPPERZ also includes Donato Cabrera (Conductor), Minna Choi (Artistic Director, Magik*Magik Orchestra), and Jeff Mars (drums).

ZIPPERZ tells the story of two singers at a club that’s been there for as long as anyone can remember. Night after night, they put on the same boy-meets-girl routine, but tonight, at intermission, their carefully rehearsed set takes an unexpected turn. The insightful and unique structure of Stookey and Harder’s piece– like being inside two people’s heads at the same time – brings out the complex he-said-she-said of a blossoming relationship.

ZIPPERZ was commissioned and premiered by The Oakland Symphony, with funding from The Baker Street Foundation.

A note about ZIPPERZ from Nathaniel Stookey:
One of the things that makes music different from a drunken dinner party is that in music, everyone can talk at once and still make perfect sense. Two or more musicians can play different notes in different rhythms – literally against each other, in counterpoint – and yield something that is not only clearly intelligible but also mysteriously enhanced. I had never encountered anything like counterpoint outside music until my friend and longtime collaborator Dan Harder sent me some of his “zippers” – pairs of poems that can be read separately, left and right, or zipped together by alternating lines, like this:

I couldn’t resist the temptation to marry Dan’s counterpoint with mine, and with a name like ZIPPERZ, it would of course have to involve getting naked. So I asked Dan for a love story that would zip and unzip in as many ways as we could dream up.

The result isn’t a conversation. It’s more like being inside two people’s heads at the same time. You’re getting both sides of the story – the he-said in one ear and the she-said in the other – but they’re usually worlds apart, on separate channels, so to speak, and in the case of this recording quite literally. (You could pan hard left or hard right and get a very one-sided view of things.)

The other key player here is the orchestra, which is pretty shamelessly flexing its muscle as the biggest, baddest live band on earth. If there is any limit to what a symphony orchestra can do, I have yet to discover it. And though this album is produced to sound in-your-head (if not downright in-your-face), ZIPPERZ is live music through and through. It was commissioned by Michael Morgan and his ever-cool Oakland Symphony and premiered, with Manoel Felciano and Eisa Davis, at the Paramount in downtown Oakland.




1. Well, isn’t he polite?
2. But, wait, that was a glance…
3. Well, that wasn’t so hard!
4. But I don’t call
5. Well, fella, two can play at that game
6. Hello, it’s… Yes?
7. Any first date is a strange thing
8. Like the two sides of an emotional equation
9. Suddenly
10. Oh, god, this wasn’t supposed to happen
11. We kiss
12. Duet for two cigarettes
13. But now, what do we do?
14. Excuse me, dear
15. Love is blind
16. I’ve thought and thought
17. If
NATHANIEL STOOKEY, the composer hailed by All Music as “a highly imaginative and original talent,” has worked with a dizzying array of collaborators, from The Mars Volta – on their Grammy-winning album The Bedlam in Goliath – to the world’s great symphony orchestras. Stookey’s signature work, The Composer is Dead (with text by Lemony Snicket), has been performed by hundreds of orchestras on five continents and cited by BBC commentator Norman Lebrecht as one of the five most performed orchestral works of the 21st century, worldwide. Other recent collaborators have included Kronos Quartet, Frederica Von Stade, and Jonathan Aibel – co-writer of the Kung-Fu Panda franchise– with whom Stookey is creating an original comic opera entitled High Resolution. Of Stookey’s music for Tony-winning director John Doyle’s production of Caucasian Chalk Circle, Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times raved “I can’t recall when I’ve found a music drama this eclectically satisfying.” 

DAN HARDER is a poet/playwright whose most recent theatrical work, A Killer Story, was described by the San Jose Mercury News as “a crackling noir” whose “snappy banter and overlapping dialogue pops like gunfire.” Harder has published three books of poetry: Rave (Back Alley Press), Generous Misgivings (Studio 301), and Askew: Found and Lost in the Almost South of France (Pince-Nez Press), the last of which was selected by the Oulipo group to be included in their collection of experimental poetry at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.  

MANOEL FELCIANO, best known for his Tony-nominated performance as Tobias in Sweeney Todd, has appeared on Broadway in Amélie, Brooklyn, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Cabaret, and Off Broadway in The Changeling (Red Bull Theater), Trumpery (Atlantic Theater Company), Shockheaded Peter, and Much Ado About Nothing (New York Shakespeare Festival). Felciano’s regional credits include the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons with Tyne Daly (Bucks County Playhouse), The Exorcist with Brooke Shields (Geffen Playhouse), Elektra with Olympia Dukakis (Getty Villa), George in Sunday in the Park with George directed by Jason Alexander, and Tateh in Ragtime at The Kennedy Center.

ROBIN COOMER, as a founding member of Loop!Station, has appeared at Outside Lands (San Francisco), Bumbershoot (Seattle), and Vegoose (Las Vegas), sharing the stage with such groundbreaking artists as David Byrne and Thomas Dolby. In addition to 4 studio releases, Loop!Station has created full-length commissioned works for San Jose Ballet and the permanent collection of SFMOMA. Coomer has appeared on recordings with Third-Eye Blind and guitarist Eric McFadden, among many others. Her most recent project is the concept band Shakewell, with Pat McDonald of Timbuk 3.  

DONATO CABRERA is the Music Director of the California Symphony and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, co-founder of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, and served as the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony from 2009-2016. Cabrera has conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, among many others. He is equally at home in opera, having conducted multiple performances at the San Francisco Opera, and worked on productions at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

MAGIK* MAGIK ORCHESTRA, founded by artistic director Minna Choi, has collaborated with over 150 artists including Death Cab for Cutie, Jonny Greenwood, Sting, Nick Cave, Third Eye Blind, Weezer, The Dodos, John Vanderslice, The Walkmen, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, and cellist Zoë Keating.
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