The Writing’s on the Wall? The piano in co-creative contexts.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Abstract for conference paper/performance:

In many respects the piano is an anachronistic beast: monolithic, immovable and inflexible in an age of speed, lightness, portability and ephemerality. This is perhaps reflected in its declining prevalence in domestic and educational environments in the UK, and the instrument’s alliance with the grand, virtuosic tradition of nineteenth-century mastery, extended into extreme complexity and interventionist preparations in the twentieth century, serves only to emphasise its relic status. No wonder that artists and composers have variously felt the need to wrap the instrument up, fill it with hay, nail down the keys or trash it completely.

Nevertheless, the piano retains prominence in compositional and performance practices. The diverse repertoire continues to expand, and in China there are reportedly over 30 million piano students. Moreover, the very weight of the piano’s cultural heritage offers a context for creativity. This paper explores this in relation to two new works, 'The Writing’s on the Wall' (2010) by Damien Harron and 'when the wind blows' (2009) by Juliana Hodkinson. Both were produced in collaboration with pianist Catherine Laws and in different ways draw playfully on expectations of piano performance, exposing the innate theatre and physicality of interactions between performer, piano, other sounds, and audience.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
EventRMA Colloquium: The Piano in Contemporary Music - Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom
Duration: 7 Apr 2011 → …


ConferenceRMA Colloquium: The Piano in Contemporary Music
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLiverpool Hope University
Period7/04/11 → …

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