Throughout its long history, the keyboard has inspired composers and performers to explore the boundaries between the familiar and the unfamiliar. Tom Beghin’s excavation of the “son continu” modality in Beethoven’s piano music upon encountering the new technological resources of his French Érard piano is just one example. In not dissimilar fashion, Stockhausen’s MANTRA (1970), to be performed this Sunday by our fellow keyboarding colleagues Andrew Zhou and Ryan McCullough of HereNowHear, amalgamates electronics with the acoustic piano in ways that blur the line between the analog and the digital. Achieving a kind of spiritual reverence for sound itself, the work begins to dissolve the functional distinctions between composer, performer, instrument, space and listener.
Exploring a new model of performer-instrument builder (supported by the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies and the CCHK), HereNowHear developed their own electronics for ring-modulating the acoustic pianos used in the work, and created a DIY installation of the crotales (antique cymbals) called for by the composer. Andrew and Ryan will be joined by doctoral student in composition, Joshua Biggs, as sound diffuser. Josh is a winner of a CCHK 2021 Small Grant and future news items will feature their electronic music project using our historical pianos. We urge anyone in town not to miss this rare opportunity to witness firsthand a landmark work of the late 20th century. For full event details, please click here.