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ZAP! Performance April 27, 2007
Boston Museum of Science Theater of Electricity


ZAPI'm very excited to announce that my debut recording, "ZAP!," is now available on CD!

The music was recorded by an all-star lineup of musicians -Robert Black, David Cossin, Felix Fan, Philippa Thompson, Eddie Whalen, and Evan Ziporyn - along with actual sparks and static from the Boston Museum of Science's Van de Graaff Generator and Tesla Coils, recorded by Joel Gordon.

It's available on cd from Airplane Ears Music or Amazon, and downloadable from iTunes, Amazon, or EMusic. If you want to check it out first, there are some free downloads of excerpts at

ShopBuy score | ShopBuy cd

ZAP! by Christine Southworth

1. Power On (6:59, mp3, excerpt) Listen
2. Surge (4:28, mp3, excerpt) Listen
3. Current Consumption (5:37, mp3, excerpt) Listen
4. Charged (10:39, mp3, excerpt) Listen
5. Attraction (5:18, mp3, excerpt) Listen
6. Static (6:26, mp3, excerpt) Listen
7. Power Off (8:10, mp3, excerpt) Listen


Robert Black ... bass
David Cossin ... percussion
Felix Fan ... cello
Christine Southworth ... voice
Philippa Thompson ... voice
Eddie Whalen ... guitar
Evan Ziporyn ... keyboards & clarinets

Van de Graaff Generator and Tesla Coils operated by Jeannine Trezvant, recorded by Joel Gordon June 18, 2006 Boston Museum of Science Theater of Electricity

Edited by Christine Southworth
Mixed and Mastered by Rob Friedman

ZAP! named "Pick of the Week"
by WNYC Soundcheck July 30, 2008

Zap Cover Art



Marrying Science and Music (
with Senior Health Desk correspondent Helen Palmer, WGBH

ZAP! is "truly electrifying!"

Will Spitz, The Boston Phoenix, "Out: Going Electric" 2/10/05


"Talk about an ELECTRIC performer!"

Providence Journal pop music writer Rick Massimo's preview :
"A High Power Show at the Museum of Science"

"as gently balladic (as it is) hard-driving and otherworldly"

Bob Young's preview from The Boston Herald/The Edge:
"Ensemble Robot creators `Zap!' preconceived ideas of electronic music"


"High-voltage Star-Power!"

MIT Tech Talk's preview & interview by Lynn Heinemann :
"Southworth Makes Music Outside the Rules"
ArtTalk: Christine Southworth, composer


Electrostatic Society of America review, by Humphrey Wong


Listings & Columns:

     The Museum of Science's 40-foot-tall Van de Graaff generator is an imposing one-trick pony - if you've seen one five-million-volt spark, you've about seen 'em all - but now a young composer is going to make it sing. Brown grad student Christine Southworth has written an hour-long piece called Zap! that calls for a chamber/rock set-up (keyboards, flute, guitar, bass, voice, percussion), "robotic instruments" programmed by a team of MIT/RISD engineers, and one mammoth sparking machine. Both the generator and Southworth are MIT alums: the composer studied with Evan Ziporyn and describes her work as Steve Reich-influenced, post-minimalist acoustic electronica; the museum's Van de Graaff (the world's largest air-insulated model) was built at MIT in the 1940s and is said to be fond of the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat. Zap! gets its premiere tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of Science, at Science Park in Boston, and it's free with museum admission, which is $14, $11 for children. Call (617) 723-2500.

    48 hours to kick off: Come Sunday night, you'll be parked in front of the TV, waiting for the Pats to take the field. Here's what you can do to keep busy until then. February 4, 2005

    FRIDAY 6 PM Quitting time at the Museum of Science involves electricity, robots, and vodka, but happily not in that order. Start with a martini at the Science Street Cafe. At 6:30, the 40-foot Van de Graaff electric sparking generator becomes the centerpiece of a concert called ''Zap!" featuring real and robotic musicians. $14 adults; $12 senior citizens; $11 children. Science Park, Boston; 617-723-2500.

    GO! WEEKEND By Amy Graves  |  February 4, 2005

    HIGH ENERGY The towering Van de Graaff electric generator in the Theatre of Electricity of the Museum of Science throws off some serious sparks -- about 1.5 million volts' worth, we're told. Little did we know that it also can be manipulated to make music. In ''Zap!," composer Christine Southworth and robotics engineer Leila Hasan, alumnae of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, use the Van de Graaff to add sparks and static to an hourlong concert with eight other musicians. Southworth composed the music; Hasan controls the generator with a laser-theremin midi controller. Laurie Anderson would be so proud. At 6:30 p.m. Tickets $14; includes museum admission. Science Park, Boston, 617-723-2500.


Phoenix Review


MIT Tech article


ESA review


Very special thanks to LEF Foundation for making this piece possible.
We would also like to thank The Boston Museum of Science, MIT, Brown University, and Andy Cavatorta.


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All materials ©2008 by Christine Southworth. All Rights Reserved.