Meet 2017 Toy Piano Festival Participant – Zachary Konick

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Biography
Zach Konick is a composer and percussionist, currently residing in Tampa, Florida. He recently graduated from the University of Maryland College Park, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music composition. In his time at Maryland, Zach studied composition under the tutelage of Dr. Thomas DeLio and Mark Wilson, and studied percussion under Dr. Lee Hinkle and John Locke of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He performed drums and percussion for many musical theater performances and church services in and around the Metropolitan area. In his time at Maryland, Zach has achieved many honorable representations of his work, having received readings and performances by such notable ensembles as The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (conducted by Oliver Knussen), the new Ear Ensemble, the JACK String Quartet, the Ethel String Quartet, and the Spektral String Quartet, as well as a performance of his marimba solo by Lee Hinkle. Zach also received the honor of studying under Roger Reynolds during a winter composition course at the University of California, Washington D.C. He is currently pursuing his Masters Degree at the University of South Florida in music composition, under Dr.Baljinder Sekhon and Paul Reller. He also currently enjoys playing percussion in the University of South Florida Percussion Ensemble under Robert McCormick. Zach hopes to go on to earn his Doctoral Degree in music composition with the aspiration of becoming a professor of music composition.

What sparked your interest in toy piano?
I have not considered actually composing for the toy piano until I discovered this festival as a unique opportunity. However, I was vaguely familiar with its growing use in classical contemporary literature, as popularized by John Cage. I found this piece to be a challenge to compose as the timbral quality of the toy piano is rather limiting and fairly unclear in pitch recognition. Yet, it cannot be ruled out as having its own unique quality that deserves attention from the musical community and through festivals like this one, it is continuing to gain significance in serious contemporary music literature.

What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
As in any composition reading situation, I am always striving to hone my abilities in the composition process, both on and away from the manuscript paper. Interacting with performers who interpret my writings has always provided me an invaluable experience which has helped me grow as a musician. Further, composing for the toy piano was a new experience for me as well and I am very interested in hopefully seeing my creation realized by authentic, live instruments.

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