Chris Brown performs two of his compositions for piano & interactive computer using the Buchla PianoBar keyboard interface. The PianoBar was invented by Bay Area electronic instrument pioneer Don Buchla to enable accurate control of electronic sound from an acoustic piano’s keyboard. Infrared light beams installed in a thin bar mounted non-invasively above the back of the keys measure changes in the position of each piano key and output the results as MIDI information to a synthesizer or computer. As well as directly controlling synthesized sound, the pieces in this show also use this information to affect generative algorithms that create independent layers in the music in real-time, stimulating interaction between the improvising pianist and the electronics.
The show opens with a premiere performance of “Shuffle Bagatelles” (2020) in which twelve short compositions performed in random order are live sampled and transformed by the computer based stochastically on analysis data derived from the performance. Following a short intermission featuring a video by Johanna Poethig, the concert concludes with “Obelisk” (2016), integrating a score providing melodic and rhythmic modes for improvisation, and interaction between the pianist and synthesized responses generated by the computer.
CHRIS BROWN is a composer, pianist, and electronic musician, who makes music with acoustic and electroacoustic instruments, interactive software, computer networks, microtonal tunings, and improvisation. His compositions are designs for performances in which people bring to life the musical structures embedded in scores, instruments, and machines. His music is available on New World, F’oc’sle Music, Tzadik, Pogus, Intakt, Ecstatic Peace, Red Toucan, Leo, and Artifact Recordings. He has recorded music by Henry Cowell, Luc Ferrari, José Maceda, John Zorn, Glenn Spearman, and Wadada Leo Smith; recordings as an improvisor include with Pauline Oliveros, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Fred Frith, William Winant, and Frank Gratkowski.