This is an “All Riley” album. How did that idea come about, and when?
Keisuke: We always wanted to play all of his piano-four-hand pieces, since four years ago when we started with “Cinco de Mayo.” We immediately felt a deep connection to this piece and wanted to explore everything else there was. I think an All Riley album makes sense, because the five piano-four-hand pieces from The Heaven Ladder, Book 5 commissioned by Sarah Cahill are all very different from each other, and so are the other four pieces on the CD.
When did you first play a Terry Riley piece, either as a soloist, with other ensembles, or together as ZOFO? Can you talk about the emotions you felt the first time you played Riley?
Keisuke: “In C” with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players was my first Riley piece. I was really astonished how different his piano-four-hand music was from it. Eva: For me it was “Cinco de Mayo.” We had a lot of fun with it right away. How did your collaboration with Terry Riley begin? Who approached whom? Eva: We’re very grateful to our friend Katrina Krimsky for connecting us with Terry. She’s very close to the Rileys and has been playing the “pulse” for “In C” over many years. She gave us the score for “Cinco de Mayo” after one of our first ZOFO concerts and told Terry about us. We sent him a concert recording of “Cinco” and he then emailed us, saying how happy he was with it. He also sent us the four remaining pieces from The Heaven Ladder, Book 5. We were in heaven!