Portfolio for Develop Your Creative Practice application
The Merchant of Venice | Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (The Globe) 2022 | dir. Abigail Graham
A radical new version of Shakespeare’s play reclaiming it from its anti-Semitic production history by telling Shylock’s story through his daughter’s eyes. The score was performed live by a 4-piece band (myself – piano/musical director, Midori Jaegar – cello, Dave Shulman – clarinet, Saleem Rahman – drums) and incorporated arrangements of contemporary pop songs, traditional and modern Jewish music, and original music drawing on Jazz and Alternative Pop styles. Eleanor Wyld, who played Jessica, featured as a vocalist whose performance of Kol Nidre, a Jewish prayer, at the end of the production played a key role in exploding the play’s conventional form, delivering a powerful message of resistance.
★★★★ “Tying the production together, Zac Gvi’s score is muscular and atmospheric… evoking an unequal world that is for some filled with conspicuous glamour and for others tinged with constant menace.” – The Stage
★★★★ “The band led by Zac Gvi support beautifully throughout” – Evening Standard
★★★★ “The impact is full-bodied” – The Guardian
★★★★★ “Vibrant and fresh” – Whats On Stage
“The Globe’s first anti-racist production” – Prof. Farah Karim Cooper (Co-lead of Education at the Globe)
The Winston Machine | The New Diorama, UK tour 2022-3| Kandinsky, dir. James Yeatman
A new work set in the recent past about the cultural legacy of WW2 devised by the company featuring an extensive, entirely pre-recorded soundtrack that at times accompanied the singing of Rachel Leah Hosker as Becky. The score includes arrangements of popular songs from the ’30s-’40s as well as original music in pastiche and contemporary styles performed on piano, saxophone, clarinets, flute, doublebass, drums and vocals. Created in collaboration with sound designer Kieran Lucas, the soundtrack represents a substantial coming together and cross fertilisation of compositional and sound design technique.
★★★★ “Probing and playful work from Kandinsky Theatre, shot through with music and mischief… music rises up through the cracks between the past and present” – The Guardian
★★★★★ “The cherry on top is Zac Gvirtzman’s impressive score that keeps the play tight and running with such excellent pace. It is as remarkable and inventive as the action and provides an excellent world in which our performers can play” – Everything Theatre
★★★★ “Composer Zac Gvirtzman and sound designer Kieran Lucas team up to deliver a mesmerising soundtrack” – Whats On Stage
Dinomania | The New Diorama, US transfer (cancelled due to COVID-19) 2019| Kandinsky, dir. James Yeatman
A company-devised play about the discovery of the dinosaurs set in the mid-late 19th century featuring a live soundtrack for solo piano and chorus performed by myself. A mixture of Chopin and JS Bach and original music in pastiche and contemporary styles was used in about 3/4 of the play in a variety of ways: as a subtle underscore, for heightened melodrama, as a driving expositional force, for comic effect. Performed from a platform at the centre of the stage, the presence of music was an integral aspect in this monster of a show.
★★★★★ “The whole thing runs like clockwork to Zac Gvirtzman’s evolving piano score… no one else makes theatre quite like this” – Time Out
★★★★ “Fast, furious, cleverly inventive, comedically dramatic. And that’s just the live score on the piano” Elite Travel Blog
Trap Street | The New Diorama, the Schaubühne (Berlin) | Kandinsky, dir. James Yeatman
Examining the social housing crisis from the lense of one family’s story that spans the early days of a council estate in the ’50s to its recent destruction, the music in this play drew on a range of materials: record player, walkman, bass clarinet, synthesizer, sampler and loop pedal. Performed live from the stage, the soundtrack incorporated sound from vinyls, cassettes and samples in a sophisticated way, adding a dimension of the progression of time through the variety and quality of the musical media.
★★★★ “Trap Street is an 80-minute show that melds an astonishing complexity of themes, a mastery of form and a deep, deep humanity … another triumph for Kandinsky” – Time Out
“Devised scenes play out collaboratively… underscored by brilliant and unsettling music performed by Zac Gvirtzman” – Exeunt Magazine
Euphorials – Volume 1: Konstance & Volume 2: Disposable Values
Euphorials is a production duo that draws on Jazz, Funk and Hip-Hop to create multi-layered, organic and soulful music with a heavy groove element. Featuring a mix of my compositions and jams, Vols 1 & 2 combine my synths, saxophones and clarinets with the drums, electric drums and percussion of Wesley Gibbens, vocal samples and rap by MC Ewok from Durban, SA.
“Brief punchy jams [and] longer, lyrical excursions that showcase Gvi’s excellent composing skills… a sly twist of funk is never far away: hence the delightful freshness of the whole thing.” – The Wire
“It’s sexy music for sure, with an understated sophistication combining both smoothness and sonic detail, appealing as both soulful electronica and nu-jazz.” – London Jazz News
Monk Spent Youth – Monk Spent Youth
Monk Spent Youth is a project dedicated to celebrating the music, the life and the spirit of the great Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. Performing arrangements of his compositions as well as my own tributes to him, the album Monk Spent Youth features ECM artist Fred Thomas on bass, drums and prepared piano and maverick cellist Ben Davis alongside myself on piano, bass clarinet, toy piano and church organ.
“Intriguing… rather other worldly” – Verity Sharp, Late Junction
“Fresh and never over-respectful… a hip tribute to the original hipster” – The Wire
“Each arrangement brings a freshness to the pieces… both joyous and meditative… While I am reviewing this after I had compiled my ‘best of’ list for 2019, I wouldn’t hesitate to include this one and heartily recommend it” – Jazz Views
“Monk Spent Youth is a complete pleasure” – The Jazz Mann