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Companion Star, A Laboratory for the Creative Process


October 22, 2011


Michael Douglas Jones

Grammy Nomination for Companion Star Collaborator The Junkman™

New York, NY - Donald Knaack, aka The Junkman™, has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Alternative Music Album category for his new CD: Nat Res + Mo Na + Man (Natural Resources + Mother Nature + Man).

Knaack travels to the beat of a different drummer. A conservatory-trained percussionist and composer, he now exclusively composes-for and performs-on junk and recycled materials. He is equally passionate about the environment and his art. Companion Star and Knaack are working together on a new hybrid opera, Odin, to be premiered in 2014. The artistic goal of Odin is to meld traditional opera with modern street culture, complete with an orchestra of 11 percussionists performing on amplified recycled materials. The purpose is cross-cultural and artistic exchange and blending. It will contain hip-hop arias and dance quartets. As with all of Companion Star's projects, Odin's development will be completely collaborative, improvisational and workshop-based.

Knaack's Junk Music™ is a unique collection of infectious grooves and musical styles that crisscrosses genres, is impossible to categorize, and has him performing with Ice T, Eminem and Lemonwheel, composing for Twyla Tharpe, and appearing at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Kansas City International Jazz Festival, the Seoul Drum Festival and The United Nation's. He has been featured on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, and in the Associated Press, and Billboard Magazine.

Knaack's school program, entitled HOP (Help Our Planet), was awarded the 2008 Vermont Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence. He was previously nominated for a Grammy in 1999 for his CD Junk Music.

Nat Res + Mo Na + Man features 500 never-before-heard percussion sounds from recycled materials & traditional music instruments all performed and recorded by The Junkman in twelve songs about the state of Mother Earth and how we can help change things.

For more information about The Junkman, Companion Star and Odin, please visit our web sites:

About Companion Star

Companion Star creates, produces and presents new opera and music theater that reflects the many facets of our world. Companion Star's projects place artists from diverse disciplines and cultures in an environment free of conventional hierarchies and use improvisation to aid the artists in collectively shaping productions for the stage. Companion Star's projects range from professionally cast full-scale productions to community-based education programs.

Companion Star
178 East Main Street
Patchogue, New York


Companion Star