Thollem McDonas, pianist/comproviser, was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of Irish and Cherokee descent. Not long after birth he began studying the keyboard repertoire from the medieval to the 20th century. After graduating with degrees in both piano performance and composition he dedicated his time for years in grassroots political movements and ecological restoration projects before coming back to music with his full focus. He is currently touring perpetually, mostly as a soloist but also in collaboration with many other individuals and groups. Thollem's extensive travels as a performer and teacher have covered much of the North American continent and Europe (he often leads listening and group improvisation workshops). He is a founding member of several innovative ensembles all of varying and disparate musics. In the past 6 years he has added 20 albums to his discography on 9 different vanguard labels in 4 different countries. His music is diverse, with each album and every concert exploring a variety of approaches and paths, resulting in dramatically different outcomes. Thollem is a recipient of the 2009 US Artists International Award as the founder and Artistic Director of Estamos Ensemble as well as a CAP grant this year from the American Music Center. He was commissioned by The Limon Dance Company for a large-scale piece in commemoration of their 50th year anniversary. In September 2008 he was invited to perform the late works of Claude Debussy on the piano on which they were written, as well as his own comprovisations with Stefano Scodanibbio. "OnDebussy'sPianoAnd..." (Die Schachtel - September, 2010) is the first album ever recorded on Debussy's piano. Thollem has performed in theaters, art galleries, universities, elementary schools, concert halls, jazz clubs, rock clubs, festivals, warehouses, house concerts, streets, forests, riots and on television and radio. He has performed piano concertos with symphonies, played in West African drumming troupes, Javanese gamelan ensembles, an international punkarolla band, with hundreds of free improv groups, and as an accompanist and a composer for opera and modern dance.