Exploratory Piano Performances in Minneapolis, MN

Interference Arts aims to create immersive artistic experiences that promote individual and community wellness. As the artistic director and head composer, it’s been my pleasure to oversee and create many of these experiences, including Untether: The Homewood Studio Concerts, a unique piano performance in Minneapolis, MN.

I invite you to learn the details about the Untether series, and contact me, Craig Harris, for information on future multimedia performances. I look forward to discussing the healing potential of concerts and interactive sound installations with you.

Untether – the Homewood Studios Concerts

Untether is a series of four solo keyboard concerts that I developed and produced at Minneapolis’ Homewood Studios in 2019.

I have been working for many years in the realms of dance theater and large scale multimedia dramatic productions, and have created a great deal of music that lived for the period of a single show, and was never heard again. I also create work utilizing sampled and processed sounds and soundscapes, and over the years have developed and assembled large amounts of raw sound materials in service of those works that never even made it into use in those shows, and therefore were never heard in any form. Finally, I often created work that was presented as sound tracks to be played on amplification systems, and even in cases where I performed music live, I felt invisible – detached from my audience.

With all of this in mind, I set out on a path to bring this work out into the open in different circumstances. I decided to uncover years of work – to revitalize it; to create new work based on raw materials created for previous shows; to re-envision how to bring it to the public; and to create a more direct connection with my audience. The series theme, Untether, represents both the artist and audience being “released from tether” to explore musical and emotional terrain together in non-traditional and unexpected ways.

Notes About the Homewood Studios Untether Concerts

GONE

For the first of the four Homewood Studios Untether Concerts I performed my keyboard suite GONE, originally composed for a dance theater production by the company Off Leash Area. OLA Co-Artistic Director Jennifer Isles created a work “Dancing On the Belly of the Beast” which explored adult orphanhood, performed at the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis. The multi-generational cast were all adult orphans, having lost their parents at various stages of their lives. GONE originated in a movement from this 1.5-hour long show that we characterized as an emotion gallery – a series of reflections on various stages of the process coming to terms with this potent time of life.

The suite begins with Passing, a reflection about the passing of a loved one. This movement was not used in “Dancing on the Belly of the Beast,” but actually was the source for developing the rest of the scene. I also opened Untether #4 with a revised version of Passing, presented here:

In 1999 I wrote The Hill has Something to Say, a composition for soprano, piano and digital soundtracks commissioned for Renee Fleming, based on a poem by Rita Dove that explores all that has taken place on a hill over the centuries. Twelve years later I revisited Rita Dove’s poem and created On the Hill, an improvisational deconstruction of the poem, representing an increasingly fragmenting global situation.

On the Hill was originally developed and performed by the SHAPE ensemble, an experimental improvisation ensemble comprised of Viv Corringham (vocalist), Stephen Goldstein (laptops and various electronics and controllers) and me (real time sampling and processing). Viv extemporizes with a broad vocal palette, with and without words; Stephen draws upon his vast toolbox of sounds, controllers and live performance techniques; and I record and process them both, feeding the material back into the mix to create a sound fabric that we “shape” together.

Learn more about the SHAPE ensemble here.

I developed a solo sampling keyboard version of On the Hill for Untether #2, and performed it in May 2019. All sounds for this new version of On the Hill originate from a live performance by Shape of On the Hill at my multimedia performance It is SHE Who I See.

All reuse of material is accomplished with permission from the other performers from the ensemble, which is no longer intact due to geographic separation and health conditions.

The second concert of the series reached back to the year 2000 to revisit my highly music composed for Ballet of the Dolls’ dance theatre production “The Red Shoes.” Also on the program was a preview of some of my music created for Jennifer Ilse’s solo show “Time Is,” presented at the Right Here Showcase June 6-9, 2019 at Off Leash Area’s Art Box. Here are some excerpts from the concert:

The Red Shoes Ballet Suite

Scene: Ballet I and Reception

This music was composed for the opening scene from my Red Shoes Ballet Suite. The Red Shoes Ballet Suite was composed for a dance theatre production of the company Ballet of the Dolls in the year 2000, and was based on the 1948 movie of the same name by Directors Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger. The original composition was composed for piano and violin. This was recorded at a concert at Homewood Studios in Minneapolis on May 14, 2019.

Here is a video from the concert:

This is a link to the music only:

Julian and Vicky Fall in Love

This is an excerpt from an improvisation based on music composed for a scene from the Red Shoes Ballet Suite, entitled Julian and Vicky Fall in Love. This scene depicts prima ballerina Vicky Paige and composer Julian Craster falling in love as they are working on the new Red Shoes Ballet. This excerpt is from a live improvisation created in 2019 based on material originally developed for the scene from the 2000 ballet. This was recorded at a concert at the Homewood Studios in Minneapolis on May 14, 2019.

Here is a video from the concert:

This is a link to the music only:

You can learn more about the Red Shoes Ballet here!

Time Is

This track is an improvisation based on sampled vocal material created for the dance theater company Off Leash Area’s production “Time Is”. The full production was performed at the Right Here Showcase in June 2019 at the Art Box in Minneapolis. This is an abbreviated improvisation based on the second movement of a 45-minute, 3-movement dance theater work performed by Jennifer Isles. This was recorded at a concert at the Homewood Studios in Minneapolis on May 14, 2019.

Here are the video and audio recordings:

Music Box Variations

The third concert of the series featured the Music Box Variations, a multi-movement improvisation incorporating sampled and transformed sounds from a music box gifted to me 35 years ago. Some of this source material has been used in various pre-recorded forms for shows over the years, and this is a new work designed to be performed live.

Music Box Variations is part of a larger scale work currently in development entitled “Collections,” which explores our inclination to collect objects, people, values and stories.

Please visit this page on the Interference Arts website to learn more about my music box story, and to hear more of the music.

This is an excerpt from this 30-minute performance:

At Untether #4, the fourth of my Homewood Studios concerts, I performed a new variations using the same instrument developed for the original Music Box Variations. For Music Box Variations II I deviated from a focus on the original music box theme, and created a more free exploration.

Here is Music Box Variations II:

Click here to find out more about Music Box Variations please visit this link.

The Legacy Project

The final piece in this concert delves deeper into the components of the recorded and transformed piano sounds. This instrument comes closer to realizing my original vision of the transformed piano, and includes the plucked piano voice; the plucked piano resonance voice; and a voice that incorporates sampling the piano using different mallet strikes, exciting harmonics, transforming resonance, strumming and playing with sticks on the inside of the piano.

Visit this page on the Interference Arts website to learn more about “My Journey Exploring the Extended Piano.”