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Gran Pianola Project at the Americas Society

Nancarrow's piano player roll machine (Image: Carol Law, 1977 from Collection C Amirkhanian)

On September 14 and 15, 2018 (7:00pm) at the Americas Society, don't miss the premiere of five new commissioned works for Disklavier and acoustic instruments inspired by the music of Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997), a composer known for his later, intricately contrapuntal works, almost exclusively written for the player piano.

The commissioned composers—Tatiana Catanzaro, Kyle Gann, Jaime E. Oliver La Rosa, Carlos Sandoval, and Sabrina Schroeder—are all active in the United States and Europe. For the creation of these new pieces, they have taken Nancarrow’s music for player piano as a point of departure, combining automatic and human-powered instruments. The Yamaha Disklavier, a modern descendant of the player piano, serves as the common thread between all the pieces. The practice of transcribing Nancarrow’s music for newer automatic instruments and live instrumentalists began decades ago and involved Nancarrow himself on several occasions. It is this rich space of interaction between live performers and the automatic piano, an instrument that performs without a live musician yet retains the physicality of a piano, that constitutes the focus of this project.


Tatiana Catanzaro's commission was made possible through the support of FACE Foundation's Contemporary Music Fund.

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