MZJ's Music Blog

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… Read more

Opera Rant 

Hello Everyone,I should know by now never to submit my work to competitions, but somehow I continue to get suckered into doing it. Generally, I think competitions exist to flatter the judges and their institutions--to puff up the social status of people who have no creative capacity of their own.It is pretty silly to make struggling, risk-taking, innovative artists with brilliant things to say jump through administrative… Read more

Constitution Week Event and other news 

I'm pleased to report that we'll be performing our first sample scenes from the Boston Tea Party Opera with costumes and choreography as part of an event celebrating the Constitution on its anniversary, Tuesday, September 17 in NYC. The event is organized by a coalition of local Meetup groups and will have several speakers including David Lefer, the author of the recently published book The… Read more

Music At Our House Class for Fall 2013 

This Fall I'll be offering a new online course, "Cultures of Europe through Music." A study of the various national characters of Europe--English, French, German, Italian, & Russian--by tracing their evolution over history through samples of music, literature & poetry Weekly, 45-minute live teleconference class Runs September through May Two levels: for young adults (ages 13 and up), and for Elementary age students (7-12) Registration coming soon!

New Matching Grant for the Boston Tea Party Opera 

We successfully used our recent $500 matching grant for the Boston Tea Party Opera, and are nearly 25% funded. And we just received another $250 matching pledge! If you'd like to double your money, the next $250 will be matched by a generous donor!Double your money by donating to the development fund for the BTPO Thank you so much to our 32 supporters!

First Review of "Dancing with the Muses" on Amazon 

First Review of "Dancing with the Muses" on just appeared--five stars! "Anyone with as little as one year of instrumental training could do the exercises in this book - and should. It is *really* fun to write your own melodies and discover why certain musical lines make sense while others do not. And it will give you a far greater appreciation for the music you listen to and perform."Read the review on

The Future of the Boston Tea Party Opera (post-Kickstarter) 

Hi Everybody, I was overwhelmed and honored by the generous pledges and the outpouring of support and excitement during the Kickstarter campaign for my new Boston Tea Party Opera. The interest in the show came from all sorts of unexpected places accross the country! I'll keep you posted as some of these opportunties develop. We had set an ambitious goal for our… Read more

Interviews about the Boston Tea Party Opera 

I was pleased to be a guest on the David Madiera Radio Show, discussing the Kickstarter Campaign raising funds for a fully-staged production of the Boston Tea Party Opera. Here's the podcast of the show. I was also honored to be in a print interview in the Objectiv Motifs newsletter. 

My Feelings about Various Styles of Music 

I had a message from a very active-minded young student of mine in the MusicAtOurHouse program, who wrote: "Dear Mr. Johnson, "The reason I’m sending this is because I would like to know your opinions on modern pop music/rock ’n’ roll music. I’d also like to know what you like and dislike about classic Indian, Arabian and [Western] classical music. Then, I’d like to compare… Read more

Music Doesn't Matter? 

Many people implicitly hold the notion that music doesn't matter, that it has no real consequences and therefore is not one of the important things to judge seriously. I once heard someone say on the radio, making an analogy about some political subject he thought was unimportant, "It matters about as much as whether you listen to rap or opera." Music he took to be the model and primary example of… Read more