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Thollem Mcdonas
composer and pianist

Thollem Mcdonas
Lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area, California USA
Thollem Mcdonas is a San Francisco Bay Area pianist/composer/improvisor. Throughout his life he has found himself in a wide variety of musical and social situations. His travels as a performer have covered much of the North American continent and Europe. He has performed extensively as a soloist as well as with groups. He is a founding member of several innovative ensembles, and is responsible, in full or in part, for many albums of original music. Currently he is performing primarily as a soloist, and in the past six months has toured Northern Italy and logged 12,000 miles on the road throughout America. After the release of three albums in 2005, he is planning seven more this coming year: a live solo piano album, a second album of songs, a double album collage of unreleased recordings, and three duo albums with Italian alto saxophonist Eduardo Ricci, multi-saxophonist/founder of Edgetone Records Rent Romus, and giant instrument inventor Steven Baker. Thollem has performed in experimental theaters, art galleries, universities, conservatories and concert halls. He has performed piano concertos with symphonies, played in many pick-up free improv groups, played in jazz clubs and rock clubs, festivals, warehouses, house concerts, streets, forests, in the desert surrounding the Nevada nuclear test site on Shoshone land, on television, radio, and in riots. For a year he was a drummer in a West African drumming troupe, for several years he played in a gamelan ensemble, and for three years in a socio-political oriented punk/prog bicycle trio called The Hundredth Monkey Generation, The Difference Between Everything Can-Do (Whether Or Not The Cops Will Let Us) Band, all the while working as an accompanist for ballet and modern dance, musical theater, and opera. Currently Thollem plays primarily his own music which he is now describing as post-classical circus punk world jazz free music - for people and everyone else.

mp3 clips:
Black Elk Speaks (from solo piano)
Ancient Futures (from solo piano)
Living is... (from solo piano)

album cover


This CD is a long series of short compositions/improvs for solo piano. A collection of thollem's ideas from the last 5 years, some previously unpublished, others re-realized. "McDonas leaves behind plenty of clues as to what he's trying to express" Tom Djll, Signal to Noise

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