Building virtual instruments: case studies of gestural innovation in works for piano and electronics 55:07
This presentation examines three works for piano and electronics, recently performed by Zubin Kanga, a concert pianist that feature diverse approaches to composition as ‘building an instrument’ (following Lachenmann’s definition of composition). In Piano Hero (2012) by Belgian composer, Stefan Prins, the performer uses a keyboard to control a video avatar of a pianist, creating gestural complexity from the contrast between the live performer’s gesture and the resultant ‘performing’ video. Australian composer Benjamin Carey’s work _derivations (2013) is a program that functions as a duetting partner for an improviser.
This software functions as a creative environment that directs the performer towards specific types of musical and gestural material, creating play in the ambiguity between embodied and disembodied sound. British composer, Patrick Nunn wrote Morphosis (2014) in close collaboration with Kanga using 3D sensors attached to his hands to control the electronics and extend the relationship between the performer’s gestures and resulting sounds.
Using interviews, score excerpts and video documentation of workshops, Zubin Kanga will examine how a score, a piece of technology and the gestural language of the performer are formed simultaneously and symbiotically. These systems function as virtual instruments that foster new approaches for gestural approaches to music, while also imposing their own new limitations. The presentation concludes with a performance of Patrick Nunn’s Morphosis.
Inventions du geste musical / Inventing Gestures
In recent years, musicological study of gesture has become an important emerging field of inquiry. Video and motion capture technologies, modes of analysis borrowed from other arts (such as the Laban method for movement analysis in dance) as well as new systems and notations for describing the movement of performers, have allowed a wide variety of approaches to study the structure and expressive potential of gesture. In parallel, the study of composer-performer collaboration has become a leading research field, with musicologists, performers and composers all contributing multiple perspectives with the aid of modern ethnographic techniques. What can our study of collaborative processes reveal about the creation of new approaches to gesture?
Featuring artists and researchers examining the performance of canonical works as well as examining the creation of new works today, this symposium explores whether the precise mode and location of the genesis of new gestural approaches can be identified. The use of technology to both augment the composition and allow the performer new methods of control, the integration of elements of theatre and dance and the exploration of new extended techniques will all be particular foci for the presentations. By examining collaborative approaches to gestural innovation, a deeper understanding of both fields can be uncovered, opening new avenues of artistic and musicological research.