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Zosha Di Castri

New York, NY   

Zosha Di Castri is a Canadian composer/pianist living in New York. Her work (which has been performed in Canada, the US, South America, Asia, and Europe) extends beyond purely concert music, including projects with electronics, sound arts, and collaborations with video and dance. Most recently, she was commissioned by the National Arts Center Orchestra of Canada to compose Dear Life, a 25-minute multi-media work for orchestra, soprano, and recorded narrator, based on a short story by Alice Munro. Her evening-length new music theatre piece, Phonobellow (co-written with David Adamcyk) was premiered by ICE in New York and Montreal in 2015. Phonobellow features five musicians, a large kinetic sound sculpture, electronics, and video in a reflection on the influence of photography and phonography on human perception. Her orchestral compositions have been commissioned by John Adams, the San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony, and Esprit Orchestra, and have been featured by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Tokyo Symphony, Amazonas Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra among others. Zosha has made appearances with the Chicago Symphony, the L.A. Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players in their chamber music series and has worked with many leading new music groups including Talea Ensemble, Wet Ink, Ekmeles, the NEM, and JACK Quartet. She was the recipient of the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music for her work Cortège in 2012, and participated in Ircam’s Manifeste Festival in Paris, writing an interactive electronic work for Thomas Hauert’s dance company, ZOO. Other recent projects include a solo for violinist Jennifer Koh, and a new string quartet for the Banff International String Quartet Competition, and a new work for Yarn/Wire for two pianists, two percussionists and electronics premiered at her Miller Theatre portrait concert this past December. In the near future, Zosha will be writing a solo piano piece for Julia Den Boer, commissioned by the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust Fund for New Music. Zosha completed a bachelors of music in piano performance and composition at McGill University, and has a doctorate from Columbia University in composition. She is currently the Francis Goelet Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia.

Cortège (for 13 musicians)

Cortège was inspired by the idea of a strange procession, a relentless succession of people/sounds. This idea stemmed from the following lines of Cavafy’s The God Abandons Antony, and Leonard Cohen’s adaptation of this poem in the song Alexandra Leaving:
“listen – your final delectation – to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.”
It’s the music of impending loss, the night before the city falls into enemy hands or the evening before a lover leaves for good.

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Lineage (for orchestra, excerpt)

Co-commissioned by San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony, directed by Michael Tilson Thomas.

A reflection on what is passed down. Combining change and consistency, Lineage re-imagines places and traditions I’ve known only second-hand. It is the sound of a fictitious culture one dreams up to keep the memories of another generation alive.

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Phonobellow (new music theatre, trailer)

A new music theatre work for violin, bassoon, saxophone, piano, percussion, electronics, and performative installation. Commissioned by ICElab, premiered 2015.

In Phonobellow, a huge bellows spreads across the stage like an accordion or an old-fashioned camera. Through images, electronics, kinetic sculpture, lighting, and live music performed by ICE, this work seeks to capture how deeply two very different technologies–the high-speed camera and the phonograph–resonated with people in 1877, and how they continue to reverberate to this day.

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