The Art of Touching the Keyboard : New Music for Piano

A selection of works from Eve’s repertoire of music by living composers written for her

Hidden Corners : Music of Erik Satie

A selection of works by Satie from all of his compositional periods.

Asking, WU or Simple Lines of Enquiry

One or all three of the following one hour long works written for Eve: Maria de Alvear Asking; Rudolf Komorous WU; Ann Southam Simple Lines of Enquiry* 

*see below for information on programme with video


Maria de Alvear’s De Puro Amor and En Amor Duro


Multimedia Works with Piano

Duet for solo piano (for sampling disklavier), Composer: Eve Egoyan

“Duet for solo piano delves into the space between “what a piano can do” and “what I wish a piano could do”. In addition to being an acoustic piano, a disklavier can trigger sampled sounds. This allows me to combine the sound of the piano with sound samples I have created, directly enhancing the sound of the piano as I play. The composition is a conversation between the real piano and its sampled self. Commissioned by the Ontario Arts Council, early creative work took place during a residency Avatar in Quebec City, with technical assistance from Patrice Colombe.” – Eve Egoyan

• Constellations (piano and sine tones), Composer: Chiyoko Szlavnics

“Szlavnics uses sinewaves as an electronic partner, extending the piano in unique ways. In Constellations Szlavnics weaves sinewaves on top of and through the attack and decay of the piano. Szlavnics makes the piano sound like its pitch is bending (impossible in reality). European music has been dominated by the piano’s twelve tone fixedness for hundreds of years, whereas pitch shifting is more akin to world musics and some contemporary music. Szlavnics does not fight the pitch fixedness of the piano; she plays with its limitations and strengths, coaxing it in to a new realm where it is re-imagined as a new instrument.” – Eve Egoyan

SOLO FOR DUET a deeply integrated virtuosic mix of sound, image, and unspoken narrative challenging traditional conceptions of piano and pianist

• Surface Tension (disklavier and real-time video), Co-creators: Eve Egoyan/David Rokeby

Surface Tension is a collaborative work for disklavier piano (an acoustic piano with a computer interface) and interactive video commissioned by the Open Ears Festival through the Canada Council and further developed through funding from the Ontario Arts Council. It was premiered at Open Ears in Kitchener in 2009 and subsequently presented at the 2010 Sound Symposium in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at McGill University in Montreal, the Sound Arts Research Centre in Belfast, UK, Nuit Blanche in Paris, France, and other places.

In Surface Tension, Eve’s performance at the keyboard of a disklavier 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.

Much of the visual material is based on simulations of natural processes such as the swarming behaviours of insects, the trajectories of planets, or the rippling of water when a pebble hits the surface. 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. In one movement, each note played on the piano contributes to the construction of a three-dimensional tower; in another, Eve draws out the trajectories of falling snowflakes, manipulating the live processing of a pre-recorded video; yet another charts the harmonic relationships between the notes that Eve is playing.

The performance itself is a loosely structured audio-visual improvisation. The improvisation is shaped partly by Eve’s response to the system’s visual response to her playing. 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.

• Simple Lines of Enquiry / Machine for Taking Time (piano and video), Composer: Ann Southam; Video Artist, David Rokeby

This presentation is the meeting of two independent works of art; the music and video are not explicitly synchronized, but move through time in compatible ways that enliven each other. Both works involve a process of unfolding – a camera pans across a city and across time; the music explores of the emotional possibilities of a twelve-interval row. Each embraces extreme detail and timeless expansiveness. The held sonorities of the piano link seamlessly to the subtle pan/shift of images through time. They are both gently emotional contemplations of transience; places of remembering and letting go.

Simple Lines of Enquiry (2007) by Ann Southam

Written for Eve Egoyan, Simple Lines of Enquiry is an eloquent and quietly emotional work relying on its slow unraveling to evoke a magically suspended, weightless sound world. Its stillness and intimacy invite listeners’ into an environment of deep listening and contemplation.

“2009: Ten Exceptional Recordings… The test of a great recording is whether you find yourself temporarily unable to live without it. For certain overlapping periods this year, I couldn’t stop listening to… Ann Southam’s immense, mysterious piano piece Simple Lines of Enquiry.” — Alex Ross, The New Yorker

To create Machine for Taking Time (Boul. Saint-Laurent), David Rokeby positioned cameras high on a building in Montreal and recorded 750.000 images over the course of a year, capturing a broad swath of the city in every season, in every angle of light, and in every weather condition. The resulting database of images is explored by a computer, which stitches together leisurely continuous pans across the city, staying true to the spatial trajectory but shifting unpredictably through time.

David Lynch Études (amplified piano, amplified voice/foot stomping/guitar and soundtrack with video), Composer: Nicole Lizée

“Lynch Études is the fifth in a series of glitch-based pieces that delve into the worlds of iconic filmmakers who have made an impact on my aesthetic. Scenes from Lynch’s film and TV catalogue are corrupted and merged with piano to form an immersive and psychedelic journey. The piano writing is a musical mirror of the absurdist, surrealist – and sometimes disturbing – nature of Lynch’s work. It takes on the characteristics of ‘Lynchian’ glitch as the disparate sources twist, weave and interact – reflecting the dreamy, hazy, and twisted otherworldliness.” – Nicole Lizée

Homonymy (prepared disklavier, voice, movement and video), Composer/ Artist: John Oswald

This arrangement is based on a 1998 commission by the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec for chamber ensemble (no piano) and cinema.
Composition, libretto, direction, animation, francophonic typeface design, and piano transcription by John Oswald. Piano preparations and piano performance composed by John Oswald with Eve Egoyan.

“Homophony uses sound, image, and the internal voice of the viewer to make a polyphony out of Frenglish or franglais, and to hint at the some of the political and sociocultural elements that come into play when living between mother tongues, as some Canadians like myself are prone […]” —Tamar Tembeck

Palimpia (disklavier), Composer: John Oswald

“I’ve just realized that I’ve never composed a piece for a regular piano, but, in ways that deviate extremely from Conlon Nancarrow’s formidable canon, I have been rather obsessed with what a player piano can do. Working with pianist Eve Egoyan, I’ve now added to this obsession a new world of possibilities in which a player piano and a living pianist, interacting, can create a bionic symbiosis of performer and acoustic machine. Palimpia, as part of a rascali klepitoire that has spun off from the plunderphonics genre, begins with a familiar seed (which can be changed from performance to performance), which, as it is gradually revealed, is subject to various obfuscating and illuminating processes. Many thanks to Eve, to whom this composition is dedicated, for her constant curiovirtuosity.” – John Oswald

∆[delta]88 by John Oswald performed by Eve Egoyan