The Gonzervatorians

Chilly Gonzales and his fellow Professors announce the 7 GONZERVATORIANS! Congratulations to all and a very sincere thank you to the almost 800 applicants who participated in this amazing experiment.

Watch the Gonzervatorian Playlist here.

#Gonzervatory Difficult Decisions

Chilly Gonzales, Professors Socalled, Peaches and Jarvis Cocker viewed 700 videos from 63 countries on 5 continents. Prof. Lisa Kainde Diaz of Ibeyi is on tour and sent in her suggestions. Difficult Decisions had to be made.

Check out the shortlisted applicants’ videos here.

#Gonzervatory Applications Now Closed!

Big Thanks to the HUNDREDS of applicants! Gonzo and his fellow professors Socalled, Peaches, Jarvis Cocker, and Lisa Kainde Diaz from Ibeyi are already at work looking for their students. Who would YOU invite??

Watch all the applicants’ videos in our playlist below.

Gonzervatory Journal Entry

A concert is worth a hundred rehearsals. The adrenalin alone is a force-multiplier of learning. The threat of embarrassment, the shadow of failure, the fog of unresolved tension. But also – the unexpected laugh where you didn’t mean a joke, the consensus that leads to mid-song applause, the feeling of musical time simply stopping… None of this can happen while you sit alone in a studio or at your instrument. Music is communication, so we prepare to communicate. Before a concert, we repeat, rehearse, we make a plan, but we KNOW we will tear up the plan.

We need the plan, but then we don’t need the plan.

Six performers will meet me in Paris. We will spend 8 days making these meticulous plans on a metaphorical sheet of paper. Come join us at the Trianon, and watch us tear up that sheet of paper. Come join us for 100 rehearsals in 2 hours.



(Thank You, from left to right, to Matilda Abraham, Angus Tarnawsky, Casey Mq, Teacher Assistant Socalled, Dani Shivers – Joona Samuel)

Gonzervatory Journal Entry

The Gonzervatory is now officially a reality.

The day of the announcement, I was curious to see the feedback on Twitter. I couldn’t help but notice that the few dozen likes we had accrued were vastly outnumbered by my impulsive retweet of the statement “Chilly Gonzales always looks like he got out of the shower.” (hat tip to Twitter user @whatyouseyr).

Unsurprisingly, snark travels faster than heart. At first I felt disappointed, and a little dirty. One might say I needed a shower.  But wait…My bathrobe-plus-slicked-back-hair look is indeed my trademark, featured prominently in the Gonzervatory video. And this  prompted a Twitter-perfect response that spread further than my initial, idealistic plea. If the music business is about branding now (as opposed to record sales), this random guy’s tweet represented a triumph of snarky marketing.#snarketing.

And isn’t this the kind of thinking I want to share with my Gonzervatorians? Haven’t I consistently given advice to my musician friends to project a cartoon-character-esque visual identity? This retweet may be proof of the power of looking at yourself through the eyes of the audience. This is a power that can be used for good, a power that can be shared.


Gonzervatory Journal Entry

(c)Alexandre Isard

We were supposed to launch The Gonzervatory tomorrow.

But in a classic plot twist, an older version of our press release somehow found its way to hipster blog Stereogum, who posted it a day early. They even mention that the link (for applying to my new all-expenses-paid residential musical workshop) wasn’t working properly. I almost screamed at my computer screen: “Of course it doesn’t work, it’s not supposed to work until tomorrow.”

But this is part of launching new projects in 2017….months of planning followed by laptop screaming.

Once I calmed down, we simply decided to move the announcement ahead by a day.

But The Gonzervatory has actually involved years, not months, of planning. Back in 2004 when I released Solo Piano, I was looking for a way to engage my audience in relation to this quieter, more reflective musical direction.

I remembered being a kid, making music with my older brother, playing happy songs in a sad way, replacing the happy major chords with darker, minor ones…

So I tested out a stage routine in which I played Happy Birthday in a minor key, punctuated by the line “another year has gone by, motherfucker”. Breakthrough! It killed.

Since then, I made different attempts at sharing my view of music as a kind of a toy.

The Gonzervatory is somehow the human manifestation of my major – minor routine, a place to play with this toy and to take it apart – the direct transmission of a musical vision to younger and hungrier musicians.

Who knows how many will actually apply? Is my dream of forming a kind of musical X-men with me as Professor X going to actually WORK?

Once the fucking link works, we’ll find out!