Musicians from the Cirque du Soleil Varekai band taken June 2017 in Vilnius, Lithuania by Gabrielus Jauniskis.
From left to right: David Piché (violin), Conrad Askland (bandleader and keyboards), Mikey Hachey (bass), Isabelle Corradi (singer), Jamieson Lindenberg (singer), Damion Corideo (percussion), Jose Manuel Pizarro Carmona (winds) and Paul James Bannerman (drums).
It is an absolute pleasure to work with this group of musicians!
I am thrilled to be joining Cirque du Soleil’s show Varekai as bandleader and keyboardist on their world tour. The show has been on a world tour since 2002 and I will be joining them on the final legs in Europe and ending in the United States in 2017.
Macau, China – Just announced to the cast and crew of the Cirque Du Soleil show Zaia that it is closing in Macau and last performance date will be Feb 19, 2012. Official announcements are currently being made by Cirque publicly. Zaia opened as a resident show at the Venetian Macau resort and casino in September 2008.
ZED had it’s last performance December 31, 2011 at Tokyo Disneyland. I was lucky to travel to Tokyo in October 2011 to see this Cirque Du Soleil show and meet the artists and musicians. The show and music were so fantastic. Consensus is that this was one of Cirque’s best shows. It’s an artistic crime that it is closing. I mean it was fantastic beyond words. It had that Cirque “magic” through out.
There are always hopes with the fans that the show will resurrect somehow – but Cirque has redeployed many of the artists to other shows and the ZED theater was built for the show which makes it difficult to move somewhere else. Artistically I know in my heart that whatever happens the original magic of ZED will have to be a time capsule for the short time it ran – about 3 years. A new magic can continue but you can’t go back and recreate the same magic.
To the musicians, artistic team and cast of ZED I say what you already know: You created a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that you can always carry in your theatrical heart. You were part of something truly magical…
In this video the various Cirque Du Soleil shows say goodbye to ZED, including the show I work currently work on: ZAIA.
Barbara Walters interviews Cirque Du Soleil founder Guy LaLiberte.
“One of the things that makes billionaires successful is their reaction to failure.”
– Robert Frank, Wall Street Journal
That is such a great quote. Maybe not in the context of billionaires, but in the context that to be successful there is usually a lot of risks and with that comes occasional failure. It’s how we react and use those failures that can help propel us to each new chapter and goal.
Great interview with Danny Elfman on his music scoring of the Cirque Du Soleil show “IRIS” showing at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, CA.
Cirque Du Soleil ZAIA Performance on China TV. This was a promo excerpt shot for Chinese television – it is not a live shot from the ZAIA theater in Macau.
Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA show promotional video released September 2011. Zaia is the resident show that opened in August 2008 at the Venetian in Macau (SAR) China. Acts in the video include Straps, Trapeze, Hand to Hand, Gypsy, Skate, X Board, Aerial Bamboo, Lion Dance, Firedance and of course Zaia’s dragon. Music composed by Violaine Corradi.
August 28, 2011 was the 3rd anniversary of Cirque Du Soleil’s ZAIA show in Macau (SAR), China. Above is one of the new promotional posters. You can click it for a larger view.
Cirque Du Soleil ZAIA band
Maria Elena Medina (cello, viol), Olivier Milchberg (guitar, plucked strings, flutes), Gabriel Cloutier (singer), George Manz (key 2), Conrad Askland (bandleader, key 1, accordion), Rose Winebrenner (singer), Darrin Johnson (drums), Eduard Harutyunyan (percussion), Justin Wilman (violin, recorder).
Oriental Land Co., Ltd.
Cirque du Soleil Theatre Tokyo
“ZED” to Close
URAYASU, CHIBA—Oriental Land Co., Ltd. and Cirque du Soleil have reached anagreement to indefinitely close the Cirque du Soleil Theatre Tokyo, located in Tokyo Disney Resort®. Performances of ZED will end on December 31, 2011.
June 23, 2011 I had the experience of watching Cirque Du Soleil’s show VAREKAI in Manila, Philippines. I’m familiar with the music and had seen videos of the show but to watch it in person was electrifying.
My favorite parts were of course the music (another Violaine Corradi creation), the guy with the lightbulb on his head (you’d think since I work for Cirque I could look up the characters name) and the clown act with the spotlight (I’ve heard about that act for years, was fantastic to finally see it – very minimalistic and clever). Of course there were so many wonderful elements to the show I couldn’t possibly list them all. I’ll leave a professional reviewer to do that.
A big shout out to my friends and Varekai artists Isabelle Corradi (vocals) and Paul Bannerman (drums).
Varekai Opening (Charivari) Cirque du Soleil
Cirque Du Soleil celebrates it’s 27th anniversary.
Zarkana opens in mid June 2011 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. “Merde” to all the cast and crew over there. We’re all very excited to see what the New York critics say. Looks like a fantastic show!
Sunday March 20, 2011 artists and techs from the Cirque Du Soleil shows ZAIA, KOOZA and ZED took a group photo on the ZAIA stage at the Venetian in Macau, China. We (the ZAIA crew) were happy to host them in Macau while they awaited updated reports on current events in Japan following the tsunami.
We think that this is the first time three different performing casts from Cirque shows have all been together and shared the stage. You can click on the image for a larger view.
Email question received:
Dear Conrad –
I enjoy your blog. It’s a great chance for outsiders to get an inside look at what it’s like to be in a Cirque production. I write because I recently posted a video on Cirque’s Facebook Casting page and have two questions with respect to the use of various flutes in ZAIA.
1. How many different flutes are used in your current production?
2. To your knowledge, are there other current Cirque shows that are scored
exclusively for the flute? (either concert flute or other world flutes)
Thanks for your time.
On Sunday March 20, 2011 the Cirque Du Soleil show ZAIA celebrated it’s 1,000th performance. The ZAIA cast had a big party at the Venetian casino in Macau along many of the artists and crew from the ZED and KOOZA shows. Here are some videos from Aomen (Macau) TV that I believe were released in December, 2010. It shows behind the scenes talks with a trapeze catcher and artistic director in the ZAIA show.
Hard to believe it’s been over three years since we began training in Montreal for the show. It’s been a very interesting time here in Macau, China!
As a personal rule I do not post Cirque Du Soleil information that has not already been released to the public. That is not any directive from management. Just a personal guideline. I feel ok to post this since it has already been published publicly at:
“Cirque has decided yesterday to transfer all its employees currently in Japan to Macau (China). These preventative measures touch the staff and artists of ZED, presented at Tokyo Disneyland, which is closed for the next 7 days, and artists and staff of Kooza, presented in Fuji Dome in Tokyo, which is also cancelled until further notice. Artists and staff will benefit from the support of the Macau colleagues and will be able to pursue their training at the Macau training centre.”
Thank you to Beverly Crichfield from the Skagit Herald (Skagit County, WA – USA) for writing this article for the Thursday, March 10, 2011 edition. You can subscribe to the Skagit Herald and find local news at http://www.goskagit.com
The article talks about the years I did music and theater in Mount Vernon, WA and Skagit County, USA before moving to Macao, China with Cirque Du Soleil. You can click on the images to enlarge and read.
Below is front page of magazine insert.
Cirque Du Soleil artists from the ZAIA show did a live television promo up in Hunan, China in late January 2011. It featured the acts of Straps, Skate and Hand to Hand.
I don’t know how to embed that link because it’s from a Chinese website – but it’s there if you’d like to watch it. I’ve been told that the spot was seen by several million viewers in mainland China.
MONTREAL — A group of entertainment heavyweights including Cirque du Soleil and Canadian director James Cameron have formed a partnership to produce theatrical 3D projects.
Reel FX and Cirque du Soleil Images are the production partners.
“Shooting with the Cirque du Soleil team has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my professional life,” Cameron said in the release.
“It’s a unique opportunity for me, and my 3D partner Vince Pace, to bring the Cirque du Soleil experience to a worldwide audience through the magic of 3D cinema.”