Boston Tea Party Opera Updates & 10 Years as an Indie Composer

I'm pleased to announce that scenes from the Boston Tea Party Opera will be presented this spring at StageFest 2014 at the historic Loew's Theater in Jersey City, NJ. I'm also coordinating with the folks at the wonderful Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum to arrange a presentation of some songs there (if you haven't been to that Museum, I highly recommend it). And I'm pleased to report that when the show gets to its full production, proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Bill of Rights Institute, a charitable organization supporting the education of young people in the ideas of the Founding Fathers. More details on those developments soon!

(On another matter altogether, you may find it interesting that my wife Jocelyn and I were in the live studio audience for the John Stossel Show following the President's State of the Union Speech. In a clip from that episode about "Kronies" action figures, you can catch a brief sight of us in the front row!)

Ten years ago today, I quit my day job to become a "Bohemian" independent composer. At the time, people told me they thought I was brave (perhaps they were thinking "foolish"?). Back then, I didn't know what they were talking about--but now I do! It has been a rocky road, but I have survived. In fact, looking over the time, I have a lot to be proud of.

Below is an overview of my accomplishments over the last ten years--check it out. I'm patting myself on the back so I can keep my spirits up, and maybe yours too!


Highlights from 10 Years As An Indie Composer

  • Quit my day job, set up the least expensive life I could (Jan/Feb)
  • Began composing Grand Sonata for Alto Saxophone & Piano and Saxophone Quintet
  • Premiered 3 songs at the Glimmerglass Opera Young Artist Recital Series (July)
  • Joined the Faculty of the Mannes College of Music
  • Wrote program notes for the Music Festival of the Hamptons & the Mannes Orchestra
  • Published articles on music in The Intellectual Activist Daily on "Milestones of Musical Romanticism"
  • Continued work on saxophone compositions
  • Debut Recital at Steinway Hall (May)
  • Released my first CD, Saxophone Music of M. Zachary Johnson, Live Steinway Hall
  • Taught a Summer Course on "Milestones of Musical Romanticism" at the Ayn Rand Institute's summer conference
  • Steinway Hall Album was featured on CDBaby's album of "Top Sellers August 2006"
  • Met my future wife, Jocelyn!!!
  • Composer-In-Residence at The Governor's Honor Band Festival at Austin Peay State University - Premieres of Scherzo-Concerto, and Two Military Pieces (Feb)
  • Steinway Hall album featured in recommended recordings in the Saxophone Journal (Jan/Feb)
  • Recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (May) including the premiere of Three Songs for Tenor Voice and Two Wedding Pieces
  • Founded the MZJ Ensemble, a hybrid chamber orchestra/wind ensemble - first performance in October 
  • Released my second CD, Serenade: Music for Saxophone & Piano (a studio recording of saxophone compositions)
  • Lecture-Recital at the 32nd International Saxophone Symposium (Jan)
  • Saxophone Scherzo & Adagio performed in Recital by Dr. Christopher Brellochs and pianist Allison Brewster Franzetti in Poughkeepsie, NY (April)
  • Serenade album featured in Saxophone Journal (Dec)
  • MZJ Ensemble Concert (Feb) - Premiered the orchestral version of Four Songs for Tenor Voice
  • Lecture-Recital in Washington, GA featuring my saxophone compositions (Feb)
  • Completed the preview edition of my book Dancing with the Muses: A Historical Approach to Basic Concepts of Music
  • MZJ Ensemble Concert (March) premiered Tribute to Schuyler Chapin and Portrait of a Woman
  • Released 3rd and 4th CDs: Tribute and Portrait of a Woman featuring the MZJ Ensemble
  • Married Jocelyn (Our wedding ceremony included performances of my songs, dances, and Wedding Pieces)
  • Taught at Hofstra University
  • Started work on the Boston Tea Party Opera
  • Adopted our cat Clarence from the Hoboken animal shelter
  • Founded the MusicAtOurHouse online program for homeschool students, with a course on the History of Western Music
2012 2013
  • Faculty Recital at the Mannes College of Music (Feb), including songs from the BTPO, as well as Fanfare for Two Trumpets, my Second Serenade for Solo Saxophone and a set of instrumental Dances
  • Public reading of music of the Boston Tea Party Opera at the 13th Street Theater in NYC (April)
  • Joined with a Coalition of Meetup Groups to arrange an event Celebrating the Constitution on its Anniversary, including performance of songs from the BTPO (September)
  • Continued MusicAtOurHouse with a course on Comparative Cultures of Europe
2014 - Stay tuned!

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