Thollem McDonas

Thollem travels perpetually as a pianist, vocalist, collaborator and facilitator. His musical experiences are extremely diverse and his ever expanding variety of approaches to making music result in dramatically new and different outcomes. He plays in punk clubs, museums, concert halls and riots. He works regularly with film makers, dancers, poets and painters as well as a wide array of divergent musicians and communities. He is the founding director of Estamos Ensemble, a Mexican-American cross-border ensemble for musical exchange, as well as lead singer of Tsigoti, a socio-politically charged avant-punk band among many other groups and collaborations.

Not long after birth, Thollem began studying the keyboard repertoire from the medieval to the 20th century. After graduating with degrees in both piano performance and composition, he dedicated his time for years in grassroots political and ecological movements before returning to his own music with his full focus in 2005. Since then, he has added 24 albums to his discography on 10 different vanguard record labels in 4 different countries. He is currently touring perpetually as a soloist, in collaboration with many other individuals and groups, as well as leading large ensemble free improvisation/collaboration workshops.

Thollem performs in theaters, art galleries, universities, elementary schools, concert halls, jazz clubs, rock clubs, festivals, warehouses, house concerts, streets, prisons, forests, riots and on television, radio and the internet. He has performed piano concertos with symphonies, played in West African drumming troupes, Javanese gamelan ensembles, punk bands, free improv ensembles, and regularly collaborates as a comproviser for film and modern dance. He participates in communities as he travels, collaborating with individuals and organizations, helping to connect artistic communities and artists.

Recordings released with: William Parker, Nels Cline, Stefano Scodanibbio, Arrington deDionyso, John Dieterich, Vinny Golia, Pauline Oliveros, Joan Jeanrenaud, Ava Mendoza, T.D. Skatchit, Edoardo Ricci, Rent Romus, Jacopo Andreini, Joel Peterson, Ray Johnson Band, Zdrastvootie, Merlin Coleman, Nicola Guazzaloca, Matteo Bennici, Andrea Caprara, Theresa Wong, Jorge Torres Saenz, Ana Lara, Juan Felipe Waller, Glenn Weyant, Jon Brumit, John Niekrasz, Gregg Skloff, Mae Starr, Monte Trent Allen, Michael Carey, Hasan Abdur-Razzaq, Kurt Prisbee, Alexander Bruck, Julian Martinez, Carmina Escobar, Kjell Nordeson, Rick Rivera, Emilio Tamez, Tatsuya Nakatani, Mike Watt, Tim Barnes, John Dieterich.

Upcoming albums up with: Lukas Ligeti (Label TBD), Scott Rosenberg, Gino Robair, John Shiurba, Ava Mendoza, Nate Wooley, David Brandt, Nehemiah St. Danger, Gene V Baker, Jesse Gilbert, Jordan Glenn, Justin Pinkerton, Will Northrich-Redmond, Jacopo Andreini, Sam Coomes (Label TBD), Skeeter Shelton (Label TBD) and Joel Peterson (Label TBD).

Live collaborators (not necessarily in order of importance): Francesco Dillon, Daniele Roccato, Marco Rogliano, Alex Cline, Amy Denio, Faruq Z. Bey, Jad Fair, Ernesto Martinez, Eduardo Gonzales, Ravon Chacon, LaDonna Smith, Scott Looney, Jesse Rowland, Gino Robair, Jon Raskin, Ben Wright, Marco Eneidi, Tim DuRoche, Ron Stabinsky, Jack Wright, João Castro Pinto, Bruce Ackley, Greg Saunier, T.D. Skatchit, Chris Brown, Ernesto Gonzales, Laura Ortman, John Butcher, Luca Nostro, Paolo Ravaglia, dSCI, Joao Pedro Viegas, Gerard Cox, Adam Smith, James Cornish, Anthony Poretti, Andrew, D’Angelo, Rob Jost, Ullrich Mitzlaff, Silvia Tarozzi, Joel Grip, Adrienne Webster, Marko Novachkoff, Makoto Soto, Henry Kaiser, Ed Petterson, Pete Abbott, Tom Carter, Jeff Lederer, Mick Hobbs, Liz Albee, Billiana Voutchkova, David Michalak, Tom Nunn,
Margaret Cassavetto, Abby Alwin, Carlos Santos, Dave Stone, Gianluca Gentili, Paulo Curado, Scott Amendola, Carlos Zingaro, Daniel Carter, Federico Ughi, Carrie Shull, Crowmeat Bob, Patrick Breiner, Luke Polipnick, John DeHaven, JT Bates, George Cartwright, Davu Seru, Damo Suzuki, Pauline Oliveros and Susie Ibarra.

Collaborations with filmmakers: Martha Colburn, Matthew Barney, Peter Sparling, Tuia Cherici, Carlos Sandoval and David Latreille.

Collaborations with dancers (dance companies): Germaul Barnes (Bitahkiz Ayeli), Gary Masters, Peter Sparling, Viewsic Expressions, Black Bones, San José Cleveland Ballet, Limón West Dance Company.

Recent Awards: Meet the Composer: Creative Connections; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation: USArtists Estamos Ensemble, Director; American Music Center: CAP; ‘Stirring Awake’ debuted at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Thollem McDonas website




















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