With ›20 Pianos‹, Matthew Herbert tells the stories of twenty unique pianos from all over the world ranging from Steinways at famous concert locations and fresh from the factory in Hamburg, to a school piano, the piano on which John Lennon wrote ‘Imagine’, and forgotten out-of-tune family and church pianos. Each piano has been sampled, and documented in photographs and through a short oral history by Herbert. The resulting material is brought to life partly in the form of new compositions and partly in improvisations. In addition, pieces connected with the instruments’ individual biographies can also be heard. The work concludes with a version of Steve Reich’s ›Piano Phase‹ during which the distinct timbres of all 20 pianos come and go like lost memories.
Shifting between performance, concert and Proustian evocations of the past, the evening is introduced by Matthew Herbert and features internationally acclaimed pianists Sarah Nicolls and Sam Beste.
Introduction: Matthew Herbert
MIDI Pianos: Sarah Nicolls, Sam Beste
Production: Third Ear Music
20 Pianos is part of the first New Music Biennial and was developed as part of PRS for Music Centenary
Further information: www.ruhrtriennale.de