Thomas Zirkle

Daedalus Cacophonus – a beautiful movement of sound and flesh

Featuring Joe McPhee
Friday, Sept. 10, 2010 – 6 pm

Old Post Office Plaza (9th and Locust)
Free and open to the public

HEARding Cats Collective has received a generous grant from DowntownNow! and Missouri Arts Council to create Daedalus Cacophonus at the Old Post Office Plaza.  The event will take place Friday, September 10, 2010 at 6 pm, and feature an evolving percussive landscape led by Artistic Director Rich O’Donnell (SLSO principal percussionist, retired), dancers from Ashleyliane Dance Company, ANNONYArts; a variety of local poets (Anna Lum, Brett Underwood, Richard Newman), and New York jazz saxophonist Joe McPhee.

The event is free and open to the public.

In homage to Daedalus, an ancient Greek craftsman so skilled that his sculptures “seemed to move about,” HEARding Cats Collective will assemble

team of local professional musicians, poets, and dancers for a

mesmerizing 75 minute multimedia cultural journey.  The music will inspire dancers and audience alike to move about – just like one of Daedalus’ creations.

The core musical element of the piece is an ensemble of 5 percussionists (O’Donnell, Papa Wright, Craig Williams, Adam Rugo, and Thomas Zirkle) belting out world rhythms on bass and hand drums; meanwhile troupes of dancers, dressed statuesque in togas will groove to the beats; other sections will feature quieter duo and Matt Henry and Thomas Zirklesolo sections combining poetry with improvised saxophone (McPhee); and later, mallet percussion with splash cymbals and water gongs – making use of the basin at the plaza.

Mark your calendars and come join the other cool cats for this evening of dynamic artistic expression on a beautiful September night in downtown St. Louis!






Rich O'Donnell's brainchildren circa 1969HaZMaT + HaZBeeN
Featuring Rich O’Donnell, Matt Henry, and Thomas Zirkle
Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 – 7:30 pm

Christ Church Cathedral (upstairs Schuyler Hall)
1210 Locust
Admission: $15 / $7 students, artists





Rich O’Donnell, a mainstay in St. Louis’ avant-garde music scene for the last half century, has been tinkering again…

For this concert, entitled 2-1/3 Step-Crawl listeners will experience the fruits of his instrumental creation, invented over a lifetime of experimentation.  O’Donnell (“HaZBeeN”) will be joined in performance by the dynamic percussion duo, HaZMaT, which features local phenoms Matt Henry and Thomas Zirkle.

Some instruments O’Donnell created as early as 1969, and many grew out of St. Louis culture and experiences: Sprahng II, ODO and Hyper/ODO drums, tubalums, hummers, “clowns“, X-R drums, and “un-identified bowing objects.”  Over the years he’s reconfigured and adapted the instruments in a continuous timbral exploration, and has even created new instruments for this concert.  Some require playing with altered standard techniques, and some demand a wholly unique playing style.

O’Donnell spent 43 years with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra – most of that time as principal percussionist.  He has been active professionally around the globe outside of the symphony in the creative music realm for many years as well.  He travels frequently to play with renowned performers on the east and west coats, and introduced free-improv to China in 2007 with a five city tour.  O’Donnell’s “seesaw drumming” technique received rave reviews worldwide on two recent releases, including the late Leroy Jenkins’ The Art of Improvisation (Jenkins’ final album), and Tom Hamilton’s Local Customs.  He has played and recorded with John Butcher, Leroy Jenkins, Vinny Golia, and David Wessel, among many others.

Matt Henry and Thomas Zirkle, PhD are highly talented percussionists in their own right.  Henry is the director of percussion studies at UMSL; Zirkle the director of music at Forest Park Community College.  Henry is particularly adept in the drumming traditions of Africa and Latin America.  He holds a Bachelor’s in Music Performance from UMSL, and a Master’s in Orchestral Performance from Webster University.  Dr. Zirkle holds degrees from Ball State University, SIU-Carbondale, and Louisiana State University.  He has traveled worldwide playing and researching the percussion traditions of different cultures, including a Fulbright Delegation to China in 2005.  He is an active clinician, private instructor, and composer.  Henry and Zirkle both perform regularly solo, and with their percussion duo HaZMaT, as well as the latin jazz band “Musica Slesa.”