Voyages au bout du piano

I. About
This project is like a travelling piano festival. Three highly professional pianists present an attractive format in which the newest piano music is presented next to cult keyboard classics of the past decades. Pieces with electronics, video based pieces, 80’s synths or conceptual pieces,.. they are as different as they are vibrant with imaginative ideas generated by the ever evolving possibilities of new technologies.
6th February 2015, a first edition of Voyages.. was premiered at De Bijloke Ghent. As this venue had different spaces available on the evening, the three pianists took the opportunity to construct an adventurous evening around five short and intense concerts. People could walk from one space to the other in between the concerts with duo and solo pieces. Appropriate lighting gave every concert its particular atmosphere.
Additionally there was the brand-new click-track corner concept: a big table with copies off all scores being played that night. Next to it an amplifier with several headsets for the audience to listen to all clicktracks and pre- fixed tapes and electronics the pianists need for the whole evening. People appreciated this gesture of transparency and wandered through the many pages trying to link what they read with what they’ve heard in the concert. Next to it a tv-screen with a headset showed Youtube videos of Johannes Kreidler performing his baffling Kinect Studies.

Pianists Elisa Medinilla, Sebastian Berweck and Frederik Croene have different backgrounds:
Elisa is a founding member of Nadar Ensemble. This ensemble became famous bringing composers to the fore who today are considered among the most interesting personalities working with new technologies: Michael Beil, Stefan Prins, Johannes Kreidler, Alexander Schubert…

Sebastian Berweck has been at the core of avantgarde music in Germany for the past two decades. Being a member of the Stock11 collective of composers and performers, he witnessed the rise of new conceptual music and a fresh generation of unrestrained imagination next to people like Jennifer Walshe, Hannes Seidl and Michael Maierhof.

Frederik Croene has delivered solo recitals with titles like 492 kilo, an extended piano recital, Roll over Czerny or Pianos Palliatif . Next to newly composed music of mostly young composers, he introduces his own concepts and music with Le Piano Démécanisé, a dismantled piano or new pieces for sampling piano.

For every edition of Voyages au bout du Piano, the concept is to be updated, the program reconsidered and the whole outlook to be adapted to the space(s) provided. The basic concept will stay: three pianists seek to present a kaleidoscopic view on contemporary piano music. They do so in a way that should attract the attention of a non-specialized audience and the seasoned New Music Aficionados alike. Composing the program for an event like this is a difficult task of balancing all parameters involved for a certain concert situation. That means thinking about artistic/historic relevance of the pieces, the technological implications, the amount of concentrated attention one can ask a willing audience but also the performers, the cultivated outlook of instrument and performers set up, taking care of the sound quality…

Voyages au bout du Piano.
II. Program

[first edition, february 2015]
Cecil Taylor (2009, from ‘Voices and Piano’) piano & tape
Modes Of Forgetting (2015) piano & live electronics
Mögen sie Musik? (2005) performance with cassette players
Piano Study (2011) piano, video & audioplayback
# 0602015 (2015)
The Frankenstein Variations (2014) piano & sampler
ENNO POPPE (°1969)
Rad (2003) two keyboards
“<" a performance/installation for 10 speakers and amplifier, making one crescendo of piano music until the speakers die JOHANNES KREIDLER Kinect Studies (video) MICHAEL BEIL (°1963) Mach Sieben (1999/2000) piano & video FREDERIK CROENE (°1973) Le Piano Démécanisé (2012) dismantled piano TERRY RILEY (°1935) Keyboard Study #1 (1965) TRISTAN MURAIL (°1947) Vision De La Cité Interdite (1986) two virtual Yamaha DX7 synthesizers ALVIN LUCIER (°1931) Music For Piano And Two Slow Sweep Pure Wave Oscillators (1992) MICHAEL BEIL (°1963) Doppel (2009) two piano grands, live video & electronics Reviews SLOTAVOND PIANO+ FESTIVAL IN DE BIJLOKE Toekomsttrip tijdens ‘Voyages au bout du piano’ 07/02/2015 om 15:14 door An Rosiers Foto: An Rosiers GENT ¬ Het driedaagse festival ‘piano+’ in Muziekcentrum De Bijloke sloot vrijdagavond af met ‘Voyages au bout du piano’. Drie jonge pianisten, Elisa Medinilla, Frederik Croene en Sebastian Berweck, presenteerden een gedurfde en avontuurlijke mix van recent pianowerk van verschillende componisten. Niet alleen piano solo, maar ook piano in combinatie met elektronica en video, geprepareerde piano en good old synthesizers. Het was een lange festivalavond, maar zonder festivalkeuzestress. Het publiek kon heel wat korte concertjes meepikken in verschillende zalen van De Bijloke. Niks stond echter gelijktijdig geprogrammeerd, dus wie dat wilde kon echt alles bekijken. Ondertussen was de bar (met piano’s) voortdurend geopend en kon je bij een glas snuffelen in de intrigerende partituren of de opvallende pianocollectie van Chris Maene bekijken. Het losse format nodigde in elk geval uit om ontdekkingen te doen. Het bevreemdende, soms angstaanjagende werk van Michael Beil zou niet misstaan in de droomsequenties van de aangekondigde nieuwe reeks van Twin Peaks. ‘Mach Sieben’, is een compleet symmetrisch werk van hem dat op enkele uitzonderingen na hetzelfde voor¬ en achterwaarts klinkt. We zagen Elisa Medinilla aan het werk aan de zwarte vleugelpiano, terwijl ze samenspeelde met gespiegelde videobeelden van haarzelf. Op het einde van de avond werd ook ‘Doppel’ van diezelfde Beil uitgevoerd. In dit werk voor twee vleugelpiano’s, electronica en live gegenereerde videobeelden speelde ook klanktechnicus en live electronicaman Wannes Gonnissen een sterrol. Frederik Croene verbaasde met zijn ‘gedemechaniseerde piano’. Hij ontmantelde hiervoor volledig een piano en ging aan de slag met het naakte kader met snaren. Een pianist die stielmangewijs met het publiek zijn vertrouwde instrument totaal opnieuw herontdekte. Samen met Sebastian Berweck bracht Croene ook synthesizerwerk van Tristan Murail. In ‘Vision de la cité interdite’ werden klanken minitieus ontleed, wat sferische soundscapes opleverde. We onderschatten nooit meer de Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. Composer Newton Armstrong about the project: "I was honoured and delighted to participate in the first instalment of the Voyages au bout du Piano project, coordinated by Frederik Croene, Elisa Medinilla and Sebastian Berweck. It's rare in the new music scene these days to see programs that are as ambitious in scope as this one, not only in terms of the quantity of highly technically demanding work that was presented, but (more importantly) in terms of the breadth of the curatorial vision. The program is highly imaginative in conception, covering a broad range of aesthetic orientations, but at the same time achieving a unified focus in the way that each work asks the audience to radically reconsider their ideas about the piano and pianism. Croene, Medinilla and Berweck are all extraordinary pianists in their own right, but they also bring the rare ability of advanced facility with all aspects of digital and interactive media. They also work highly effectively as a team. Overall, I consider Voyages au bout du Piano to be an extraordinary project of the highest calibre, and hope to see it developed further."