Cathy van Eck - pièce d'ameublement

Performance (creation)

Foto CathyIn this performance the piano is used in its long tradition as a piece of furniture in the living room. The piano is equipped with various contact microphones. The pianist will not play the piano by using the keys but will create a musique d'ameublement through various everyday activities such as dusting off and decorating the piano.

Foto CathySeveral contact microphones are attached to the piano, not only in the vicinity of the strings, but also on the sound board, pedals etc. Different types of small loudspeakers are also attached at the instrument , allowing the piano strings to resonate. Through use of the software MaxMSP an interactive situation is created where the actions of the pianist are converted into electronic sound.


David Helbich

Musical choreography for the audience of a piano recital (creation)

Helbichs contribution will respond to the contemporary listening culture and to the social phenomenon ‘piano’. He will therefore draw up a concept that translates the perspective of the audience.

Falk Hübner - Wasteland

Musical choreography for a pianist, piano objects, video text and electronics (creation)

Foto Falk2A musician in the middle of the remainders of his instrument. The instrument is deconstructed, destroyed, and what is left of it is scattered across the stage. In the middle of this apocalyptic image a pianist is looking for his way through the wasteland. He stands for the last human being, looking for survivors in a possible final stage of human society, after the forests have been burnt and the cities either destroyed or under water.

In this new work by composer and theatre maker Falk Hübner, the pianist is performing a musical choreography consisting of conventional and unusual movements to produce sound on and inside the piano. In a collaborative working process Falk Hübner and Frederik Croene will isolate the movements of extended techniques (as techniques of sound production) on the piano, and then 'unlock' them from their usual context, the sound. A choreography of these movements will be developed.

The soundtrack will consist of the recorded and processed 'extended' piano sounds, functioning as acoustic remembrance of the destroyed instrument. The video text will be using daily online news, embodying the images projected by the media upon us every day, projected on the various larger piano objects in the space and the performer himself.

Laura Maes - Ice mirror

Composition for ice sculpture, piano and electronics (creation)

Foto LauraIn this play with timbre the thin sound of falling waterdrops on glass plates is combined with extended pianotechniques and electronic sound manipulations. 
An amorphous ice sculpture is suspended in the concert hall. The temperature of the sculpture is adjusted so that the ice thaws and freezes alternately. This causes water discharge and on the lowest point of the sculpture the water droplets exchange the ice for the void. The drops fall on glass plates of various thickness and create sounds of different frequencies. Piezoelectric disks that amplify the sound of the falling droplets are attached to the glass plates.

Several force sensing resistors were installed on the keyboard of the piano. A score indicates when and with what pressure the pianist presses the sensors. The pressure determines the timbre of the falling drops as well as the sounds produced by the piano.

Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri - Untitled iii

Composition for prepared piano and mechanized sound devices (creation)

Foto MarianthiUntitled iii is using the prepared acoustic instrument (piano) and mechanized sound devices made in collaboration with sound artist Pe Lang, which function both as preparations and as independent musical instruments. With these, Papalexandri-Alexandri explores new bodily movements and sounds by building mechanisms which mandate and manifest different approaches to musical interpretation.

By reinventing the musical instrument, as well as the type of sound production and behavior of the performer Papalexandri-Alexandri aims to invite both the performer and the listener into new ways of engaging and relating to music, acoustically and visually. The work aims to expand the role of the performer in the music and the dramatic arts by investigating differences between playing, operating and performing. Untitled iii will be presented in the form of a live performance and audio-visual installation which aim is to question and expand the role of the performer in the music and the dramatic arts by investigating differences between performing and operating ( “music as art” and “music as music”); create and explore machine-produced long sustained sounds and textures with organic characteristic (non post processing through computer ); explore slow, minimal physical movements; and to indicate that the creation of new instrument requires new form of behavior.

Matthew Shlomowitz – Popular Contexts

Composition for extended piano keyboard

Foto MatthewPopular Contexts for piano and sampler keyboard will consist of five quite separate pieces, 25-30 minutes long in total. Most of the time one hand of the performer will be on the piano and the other hand on the adjacent sampler keyboard, so 'one-hand piano writing' is also very much a quality of the pieces. The basic concept is the piano interacting with the 'world' via the sampler. For each piece the piano interacts with different types of samples. In some pieces the samples are musical (e.g. drum machine and heavy guitar) and in others they are environmental (e.g. animal sounds).

Simon Steen-Andersen – Pretty Sound (Up and Down)

Composition/choreography for extended piano keyboard

Foto Simon"Pretty Sound (Up and Down)" starts off with a slow zoom into the gut of the piano: with a long board the player presses and depresses all of the 88 keys of the piano at the same time over and over again. At first the sound remains unamplified and as loud as possible - probably the loudest acoustic sound one will ever get out of a piano. The amplification is slowly turned up while the cluster gets softer until the tones disappear completely and only the sounds of the mechanics of the piano are left, now extremely amplified - the friction of the keys moving up and down, normally inaudible, now sounding as a soft breathing of the piano itself, trying to catch its breath.

For the rest of the piece these sounds of the piano mechanics are integrated with the sounds of the movements of the player. By applying different ways of making the movements of the player audible - for example by putting scotch tape inside out on the handles of the board, so that a "sticky" sound comes about whenever the hand is lifted away from the handle - it is not always clear what comes first or is more important: the movement or the sound it produces. In this way the piece ballances between being a choreography and a piece of music. At one point a distant and fragile chorale sounds through the noises (played with a slide on the strings), just to give the title it's double meaning: "pretty sound" as in quite strong and robust, and as in beautiful sound ...

Stefan Prins –Piano Hero #1

Piano Hero - an immersive cycle for midi-keyboard, grand piano, live-cameras, video and live-electronics (2011-…)

Foto-StefanThe "modern" grand piano, perfected in the nineteenth century, consists of a keyboard, a set of metal strings and an ingenious mechanism of hammers and dampers, which serves as the transmission between the pianist's muscles and the strings. The wooden body of the piano amplifies the vibrations of the strings when they're hit by a hammer.
In Piano Hero this configuration is "updated" and placed in today's context, using some of the typical artefacts of the 21st century: the keyboard now is an electronic one, the computer serves as the transmission and the strings are played by a virtual pianist -the avatar of the pianist of flesh and blood sitting on stage- while the wooden resonating body is substituted by a set of electro-mechanical speakers.

But not only the "piano" is recontextualized. The mechanisms of "observing", as done by the audience, is also taken into the equation. The act of "observing" underwent a radical change of meaning in a society which is ever more being "monitored", either by the millions of security cameras in public places, a network of geo-stationary satellites which can zoom in to human dimensions or the world wide web on which every day millions of homemade videos are posted and watched by millions of anonymous visitors.

Piano Hero #1 is the point zero of the Piano Hero cycle: the pianist becomes a mere operator in a world of bits and bytes. From Piano Hero #2 on, the  grand piano (which has become a "fremdkörper" after the context-shift of PH#1) enters the game to fully articulate the tension between the real and the virtual, the human and the mechanical, the past and the present.

Piano Hero #1 is commissioned by and dedicated to Frederik Croene.
Piano Hero #2 is commissioned by Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and is dedicated to Mark Knoop
Further "Piano Heroes" are in process.

Video-recording of Frederik Croene playing on his piano-frame by Kobe Wens
Max-patch programmed by Klaas Verpoest & Stefan Prins

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