Zack Browning

We commissioned Zack Browning to write a piece for us. We will be premiering his composition, Sol Moon Rocker for flute and vibraphone, on March 6, 2013 at the Eastman School of Music.   


In June 2011 Meerenai received a now (sorta) infamous introductory email from Zack with some links to his compositions. When we started thinking about composers to commission, Meerenai remembered that Zack had a lot of cool percussion music in his catalogue....and here we are!



Photo courtesy of Zack Browning


Zack Browning is a composer whose music has been described as “way-cool in attitude…speed-demon music” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and “propulsive, giddy,  rocking… a rush of cyclic riffs and fractured meters” (The New York Times). The Irish Times has proclaimed he is “bringing together the procedures of high musical art with the taste of popular culture”. His solo CD Banjaxed on Capstone Records contains eight of his original compositions for voice, instruments and computer-generated sounds and has been called “dramatic, exciting, rhythmic, high-energy music”.  Browning’s recent composition awards include the 2013 Directors Choice Award from Boston Metro Opera, a 2011 Individual Artist Project Grant from the Illinois Arts Council for a CD of his music titled Secret Pulse (Innova Recordings, released in January 2012),  and a 2010 University of Illinois FAA Creative Fellowship for research and performances in China, Taiwan, and South Korea.  In 2010 Innova Recordings released his solo CD Venus Notorious and the San Francisco Chronicle called it “ebullient, infectiously bright” and “bouncy and exuberant - some of the music sounds like dance tracks for androids with varying numbers of feet”.  Browning is an Associate Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Illinois and the director of the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award. More information is available at


A/B:  Any pre/during/post composition rituals?

Zack:  Research using feng shui as applied to info about the commission...then bang the piano!

A/B:  Favorite drink after finishing a composition?

Zack:  OJ and Belvedere

A/B:  Stay-cation or vacation?

Zack:  Vacation!

A/B:  Rom-com or Action-Thriller?

Zack:  Action-Thriller

A/B:  Nsync or Backstreet?

Zack:  NO

A/B:  Cake or Pie?

Zack:  Both

A/B:  Favorite live musical moment?

Zack:  Organist Mose Davis with his trio in Atlanta making “My Funny Valentine” funky!

A/B:  Apple or Microsoft?

Zack:  Both

A/B:  Sibelius or Finale?

Zack:  I use a copyist!

A/B:  Favorite Artist?

Zack:  James Brown

A/B:  Favorite Book?

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

A/B:  Ideal vacation spot?

Zack:  The beach

A/B:  Guilty pleasure?

Zack:  Fresh squeezed OJ and Belvedere

A/B:  Favorite Sesame Street character?

Zack:  SpongeBob SquarePants is better!

A/B:  Favorite breakfast food?

Zack:  Scrambled eggs

A/B:  Your proudest moment?

Zack:  Birth of my three children

A/B:  Vinyl, cassette tape, compact discs, or mp3?

Zack:  CDs

A/B:  Name one item on your bucket list.

Zack:  Atlanta Falcons win Super Bowl and I am there!

A/B:  Favorite movie?

Zack:  Hoosiers

A/B:  Your first LP, tape, CD, etc. purchase?

Zack:  A soul music compilation that I remember had “In Crowd” by Ramsey

Lewis, “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass, and “Barefootin” by Robert Parker

on it.