CIMA of PA Gatherings Graphic

Chuck van Zyl plus Vic Hennegan

Co-Headline Live at

The Gatherings Concert Series

Saturday 21 March 2020 8:00PM

St. Mary's Hamilton Village
3916 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA


After updates from St. Mary's at Penn outlining prohibitions by both The University of Pennsylvania and The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania our 21 March 2020 event with Chuck van Zyl + Vic Hennegan and 2 May 2020 event with Jeff Pearce + Bob Holroyd must both be postponed. This conclusion is quite saddening - as such great concerts were planned - but it is now found in the best interest of all to avoid such assemblies.

Let's hope that our efforts toward suppressing the COVID-19 pandemic will have the desired effect. Please share this post with your contacts so that others will know of our news, and go safely. Thanks for your attention and support. Please check back for news and updates...


Chuck van Zyl

Chuck van Zyl

Best known as host of STAR'S END (WXPN's renowned radio program of spacemusic dreamscapes) and as coordinator of The Gatherings (Philadelphia's premiere concert series of innovative music), Chuck van Zyl has also been making his own unique style of electronic music since 1983.

Using a variety of modern analog synthesizers and sequencers, and operating at an emotional and enthusiastic pitch, Chuck van Zyl realizes music that possesses as much the buzz and crackle of electricity as it does the frigid black of space.

From his instrument's storm force of sound comes delightful throbbing bass lines, echo-warping chimes and a mystery machine pulse, against which Chuck van Zyl sways and plays synth strings, Mellotron choir and full-blooded lead lines. Synthesizer blips interlock, and pound out mighty sequencer patterns, yet this mechanical rigidity is somehow softened - as lines of dancing arpeggios pump up against tuneful melodies and ethereal harmonic progressions. Further in, disarmingly calm passages reduce the level of density and energy with insinuating modulations and vaporous aural textures.

Throughout his live sets, Chuck van Zyl pushes and pulls, expands and contracts the music, and manages to establish an engaging contour through various scenarios and scenes... to attain a rare unity. Offering vivid synthesized sonorities his music's appeal lies in its minimalist values, and in this musician's ability to create an intimate and absorbing listening experience. Anyone in love with Spacemusic and its very specific poetry will want to hear this work in concert. Chuck van Zyl
Recitals 3 Review: Recitals 3 by Chuck van Zyl

Since 1986 Chuck van Zyl has been a man finding his moment, in any live space that will hold him. The double CD Recitals 3 presents music recorded at several 2018 performances. His shows were documented with an ordinary two-track recording device, and, after months of review, two 60+ minute sonic journeys were produced and released as Recitals 3.

In most live improvisations a player is trying to transcend their instrument - but live concerts for Chuck van Zyl are an attempt to transcend a system of instruments. Finding the truest version of himself on stage his wish is that, according to the musician, "the you inside you will know something about the me inside me". Making the music happen in space, as if touching the notes, molding them and shaping them within time itself offers a great quality of expression. Recitals 3 arrives with high expectations and from the start it delights and transports. The live concert, the flickering shadow of the soul is where moment by moment this music was realized. Musicians know that it takes someone else to hear the truth in their work, and it is in the concert venue that Chuck van Zyl promises to uncover the secret of his own operation.

Disc 1 (71'39") includes music from live performances for MUSIC WITH SPACE, Johnny Brenda's and NEEM Fest 2018 and moves from the dolorous to the ecstatic in a balance of opposing tensions. As if upon the workings of some powerful engine the music moves deliberately in sequencer steps rather than abruptly in leaps. Entrancing cyclical motifs and subtly spun melodic fragments pivot in front of harmonies and phrases and so make the repetitions feel new and novel, yet confidently familiar. In his vast poem of electricity van Zyl threads reciprocal shades of soft-hued tones, dazed sonic introspection, icy reverie, and lunar lullaby into a kaleidoscopic suite of interstellar melody and electronic communion. In sputtering sparks this work sounded crisply on the mild air of the concert space - while further in, the rolling clicking-clock ticky-tock pulse will unwind your mind. A symphony of thought, The Weakening Eye of Day fascinates the mind, captivates the heart, and stimulates the imagination.

Disc 2 (76'05") features extracts from the abstract passages of five performances, and hopes to bypass the conscious sensibilities for a direct connection to that which is elemental within the listener. Like a meteor seeking a lost sun this passage spends its force searching. Inside the lowest midnight a thousand dreams softly burn. Through shivering chill currents, we pass the control of known forces. Like something falling through darkness, this moonlight swirls in the color of night. Notes collide, collude and combine. Each movement comes at you in a ramble of melody, a search of harmony, a flight of timbre. With chords moving in contrary motion, and opposed by industrial sound effects, the listening ear is pulled through the shadows to light. Throughout To the Close and Holy Darkness Chuck van Zyl develops a poetic idea, suggests a scene, creates a mood. Even as its accord of sounds, so sweet and pleasing to the ear, is opposed by dissonance, we may hear a unity in the arrangement and the message it conveys.

Communing at these concerts the soundscape forms itself around us, and so we may feel human together - the bright tones communicating a sense of repose and clarity and capturing a wide range of deeply felt interior resonances. The music found on Recitals 3 displays the glimmer of imaginative energy that has graced van Zyl's music for over 30 years. Conjoining disparate impulses it evokes cycles of collapse and renewal. Gorgeously colored, weighty in theme, style and construction this music reaches into the world of the surreal. As expected, this live album does feel newborn, yet ghosts are created on every track. In a culture where everything can be explained, the meaning of this music still eludes definition - because somewhere in its vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered, there is something moving, something profound - is waiting.

- From the Press Release - 17 December 2019

Spacetones Review: Spacetones by Chuck van Zyl

Chuck van Zyl has a way with beginnings... and with endings... and often with middles too... His 31 March 2018 performance at the E-Day Festival at De Enck in Oirschot, The Netherlands was an abundant story of, not just his trans-continental travels, but also the culmination of his years long journey as a musician. The concert space is the crucible in which van Zyl dispatches his thought experiments - and Spacetones (68'48") provides the document of the spontaneous compositions and in-the-moment improvisations which transpired over the course of his festival live set. Pulling the audience forward with the inexorable logic of sound, the concert's mythic beginning gives way to excited sequencer notes motoring on in echoing perfection. The patterns go brighter, then dim, transpose, add on and subtract out notes in the syncopated minimalism Berlin-School fans have been fascinated with for decades. Gliding along the spaceways, these pulsing passages present spirited effects of rhythmic flight. Slow chords hold forth while echoing note cycles peal out below animated keyboard leads. With electronic harmonies rising and falling in passages of dark and light, an unexpected beauty emerges. When the listener becomes swallowed up in Mellotron stringed soundtracks and layers of portentous synthesizer drones, energy flares are deployed in a menacing enchantment, and elevate the structure of the album, and the concert - always at the speed of thought. Accomplished in its narrative complexity and drive Spacetones is a wondrous evocation of the virtues of live EM. Beneath the enigmatic cool of the deep space traveler, this musician may indeed be generating heat - but at every moment is asking the listener to please, "come along with me". Throughout Spacetones we are listening to someone with a real passion for sound and atmosphere. It is a sweeping vision of what live EM is and what it may do for us. But in spite of all the current emphasis on the specifications of equipment and gear, or the harrowing stress of playing this kind of live concert, in truth this music is simply the story of the state of a man... going from the one heart on stage, to those out in the audience.

From the Press Release - 24 October 2019

Vic Hennegan

Rhythm is a central figure in the music of Vic Hennegan. His compositions combine influences from the worlds of Prog-Rock, Techno, New Age, Ambient, Space, Electronic and World Music into a most distinctive expression.

His concerts reach into a wordless spiritual realm and re-create for us the world of light and tone in which he dwells. Depicting a space where sound seems to abide as a force, the listener is drawn far from the experience of the everyday. As impressionistic images of the cosmos coalesce into musical forms Hennegan's performances make the mind fire.

Vic Hennegan

Performing with the confidence of the musically well traveled, and mixing his experiences into vivid sonic statements, Vic Hennegan's exuberance is contagious. Electro-ethno percussion pulses alongside a synthetic bass-line running out in an echoing syncopation. Rounded vintage synth tones bend and step boldly through key changes amidst soaring angelic voices. It is here that ethereal tendencies and a bold melody driven vitality converge - and mirror this artist's inner life.

As contemplative as it is celebratory, Vic Hennegan's music crosses many levels and degrees of energy. He renders Electronic Music in a new light - which refracts into many new angles.

Vic Hennegan live at The Gatherings 14 November 2015 (excerpt)

Live at The Gatherings Review: Live at The Gatherings by Vic Hennegan

Vic Hennegan is part of a brotherhood that spans continents and centuries. Influenced by innovative works and acts dating back to the pioneers of Electronic Music, Hennegan's endeavors trace a through line - from the birth of synthesizers and the first music made in a lab, to pulsing sequencer Spacemusic atmospheres, and the fusion of anthemic pop/rock laced global grooves. Hennegan's CD Live at The Gatherings (79'15") was recorded at his 19 October 2013 performance for the Philadelphia based concert series, and uses well this beloved shared space of human spirituality. Live at The Gatherings permits us to re-live a special night of music, one where Hennegan filled every corner of the venue's sanctuary with vivid sound - there reverberating right alongside his glowing spirit. Imaginative melodic flourishes act as the narrator of Hennegan's cosmic chronicles. Creamy synth leads buzz, hum and unfurl in a meandering ribbon of notes as a mechanistic motor of patterns throbs away in the lower reaches. While body swaying sensuous beats magically morph into a staccato arpeggio of echoing electro-blips, breathy harmonies and glittering effects advance and recede through the reverent soundspace. Live at The Gatherings also features some music realized and recorded live on the 10.20.13 broadcast of STAR'S END - these two album closing tracks render perfectly the subtle aesthetic of the venerable radio program. Vic Hennegan is an artist, not someone just making entertainment. His music aims to heighten our sensitivities and common yearnings for a better world. His concerts remind us that the audience must first be primed to experience this live music, but also that this music primes us to better experience the world in which we live... a realm where society's problems seem to be beyond our power to solve. Hennegan's music should be celebrated. It reassures us that the forces of order and reason will eventually prevail, even in the most tumultuous of lands.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   11 December 2014

The Gatherings Concert Series must postpone Chuck van Zyl plus Vic Hennegan co-headlining live in concert on Saturday 21 March 2020 at 8:00PM

Additional Material:

  • Access the on-line Press Release; use the "Print" function on your web browser to make a "hard copy"
  • Access the Press Photo
  • Directions to The Gatherings Concert Series
  • Questions? Please Send an Email

CIMA of PA CIMA of PA - The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania

Chuck van Zyl plus Vic Hennegan at The Gatherings Concert Series on 21 March 2020 has been postponed, yet remains fully funded by CIMA of PA (The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania), the all-volunteer, non-profit organization responsible for organizing and producing The Gatherings Concert Series. The basic mission of CIMA of PA is to bring innovative music concerts to the public and further the advancement of this form of art.

For more about CIMA of PA, please access the Mission Statement

For more about Chuck van Zyl, please access the:
  • Official Website:
  • Chuck van Zyl STAR'S END Profile:
  • Chuck van Zyl at YouTube:
  • Chuck van Zyl interviewed in Sine Wave Magazine February 2013: Read (off-site)
  • Chuck van Zyl interviewed on Nocturnal Transmission 6 February 2009: Audio (off-site)
  • Chuck van Zyl interviewed on Alien Air Music 2 September 2012: Audio (off-site)
  • Photos and Reviews of Chuck van Zyl live at The Gatherings Concert Series in Philadelphia: 21 April 2018
  • Photos and Reviews of Chuck van Zyl live at The Gatherings Concert Series in Philadelphia: 12 November 2016
  • Photos and Reviews of Chuck van Zyl + Jeff Coulter live at The Gatherings Concert Series in Philadelphia: 15 November 2014
  • Photos and Reviews of Chuck van Zyl + Terry Furber live at The Gatherings Concert Series in Philadelphia: 17 November 2012
  • Photos and Reviews of Chuck van Zyl live at The Gatherings Concert Series in Philadelphia: 13 November 2010
  • Photos and Reviews of Chuck van Zyl live at The Gatherings Concert Series in Philadelphia: 17 May 2008

For more about Vic Hennegan, please access the:

The Gatherings Concert Series is presented by the all-volunteer staff of The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania