Piano NEXT

Eve Egoyan : Piano NEXT

Eve Egoyan augments and extends the sound range of the piano and extends the piano into a visual instrument while maintaining the physical relationship that exists between piano and pianist. Both are performed on an acoustic piano equipped with a non-invasive keyboard interface that Eve travels with on tour. Eve’s works for augmented/acoustic piano delve into the space between what a piano can do and what Eve has always wished it could do. At their core is the live acoustic sound of the piano, but through the delicate intervention of technology, Eve tests (and teases) the edges of that sound, pushing it beyond the familiar, through the impossible, and into the extraordinary. Surface Tension is a collaborative interdisciplinary work for computer-interfaced acoustic piano and interactive video created by pianist Eve Egoyan and artist David Rokeby. Except for the change of software programs between movements, all visual activity on the screen is directly responsive to Eve. The result is an extraordinary integration of sound and image in which neither of these elements dominate the other. In her own works for augmented/acoustic piano, Eve uses a physical modelling synthesizer that allows her to manipulate all the physical variables that determine the sound character of an acoustic piano but also for extending the character of the sound of the piano outside its normal range. By using the acoustic piano to trigger the modelled piano, and then mixing the acoustic and modelled sounds together, Eve augments and extends the sound range in totally new ways. In Surface Tension, Eve’s performance is transformed and interpreted by a computer into live visual images projected onto a screen rising from the body of the piano. The visuals respond to a variety of performance parameters including dynamics, pitch, the harmonic relation between pitches, the use of the sustain pedal, and the duration of individual notes extending the piano into a visual instrument. Much of the visual material is based on simulations of natural processes such as the swarming behaviours of insects. Eve’s performance triggers and modulates aspects of these simulations; the visual representations respond to Eve, but also have a sort of life of their own, becoming in a sense a partner in the performance.