Get to know pianist Rolf Hind

Rolf Hind, photo: Skel Nicolau

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s birth, pianist Rolf Hind, one of our great interpreters of modern piano music, collaborates with acclaimed choreographer Rui Horta, dancer Silvia Bertoncelli and a cat named Mia in a new work that showcases the genius of one of the twentieth century’s great artists. We caught up with Rolf to ask him some quick questions.

What do you fear the most and why?
Death. For all the usual reasons.

What – or where – is perfection?
Everything is as it is meant to be.

What’s your favourite ritual?
Meditation. Also drinking coffee!

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
One – of many – who just springs to mind: Arundhati Roy. wrote a wonderful book, but didn’t make a ‘career’ of art. Now a very brave and vocal activist and polemicist. True to herself.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
I wish I’d started the cello when I was young. I adore the instrument, it has a kind of embodiment and sheer physicality that surpasses all the others. Sounds beautiful across an enormous range too.

Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre?
Ten years ago I played a QEH concert for Boulez’ birthday with newly commissioned pieces which all came out on CD after the event. It was an exciting evening.

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
Rumi, Kabir, Farinelli, Szymanowski, Bartok, EM Forster, Proust, Rufus Wainwright, Bjork, Messiaen, Lachenmann, Diamanda Galas. That’s just the top dozen!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Be kind. And start with yourself.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
I hardly listen to recorded music. Prefer to make, play, hear or imagine it live. But if I need a boost I often return to the gypsy music of Taraf de Haidouks.

Tell us a bit about how the collaboration for Danza Preparata came about.
The very foresighted artistic director of the Casa da Musica in Porto approached me a couple of years ago and I went to see some work of Rui Horta’s in Lisbon. I was blown away by Rui Horta, as man and artist. He is an extraordinary bundle of energy and a serious polymath, whose work should be even better known than it is.

Sum up Danza Preparata in one sentence.
Exquisite dancing, lighting, concept and music, respectful and playful: a lovely gift for Cage.

How much of an impact do you feel Cage made on 20th century classical music?
A large one: I see him as the Warhol of music (many may disagree!) I don’t always love all the work, but even when I don’t I see it as something akin to the meditation I practise – an opportunity to find new perspective on one’s experience, or to dwell on an idea (like a Zen koan, a kind of riddle..)

It allows listeners, composers and performers to react in a new way. It also marks a serious attempt to integrate the philosophical tenets of certain aspects of Eastern thought with Western sounds, in a much more thorough way than the ‘orientalisme’ that often came before.

It’s also about emancipation: for instruments (redeployed, reconfigured, reinvented) for sound (liberated from the heft of grammar and meaning) and for the USA (liberated from Western Europe!)

What’s next for you?
On November 24th in the Barbican, the wonderful accordionist, James Crabb, premieres my biggest orchestral piece, a concerto called The Tiniest House of Time with the BBCSO.

See Rolf Hind performing John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano in Danza Preparata as part of Ether 2012 at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 16 October. Get tickets here. 

John Cage iPhone app!

Celebrate John Cage’s 100th birthday by playing the CagePiano app on your phone!

One of the many ingenious innovations of American composer/writer/artist John Cage was his creation of the ‘prepared piano’, in which he placed objects beneath and between the strings of a grand piano to create an entirely new instrument.

John Cage Prepared Piano app

John Cage Prepared Piano app

John Cage Prepared Piano app

Southbank Centre’s Ether 2012 is presenting John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano live at Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 16 October. Get tickets here. 

Listen to our John Cage Spotify playlist

John Cage was the most influential and controversial American experimental composer of the 20th Century. He was the father of indeterminism, a Zen-inspired aesthetic which expelled all notions of choice from the creative process.Rejecting the most deeply help compositional principles of the past – logical consequence, vertical sensitivity, and tonality among them – Cage created a ground-breaking alternative to the serialist method, de-constructing traditions established hundreds and even thousands of years earlier; the end result was a radical new artistic approach which impacted all of the music composed in its wake, forever altering not only the ways in which sounds are created but also how they’re absorbed by audiences. Indeed it’s often been suggested that he did to music what Karl Marx did to government – he levelled it.

John Cage

On 16 October, as part of Ether 2012, pianist Rolf Hind, one of our great interpreters of modern piano music collaborates with choreographer Rui Horta and a cat named Mia in a new work that showcases the genius of one of the twentieth century’s great artists and his Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano, a group of 20 short pieces for prepared piano that are often considered amongst his finest achievements.

Have a listen to our John Cage spotify playlist, featuring some of his best know work including the infamous 4’33” plus a selection of his Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano. Click below to listen.  

Listen here

 

Catch Danza Preparata – John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano – at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday 16 October as part of Ether 2012. Get tickets here. 

 

 

Watch a film of the New Music 20×12 composers talking about their commissions

You can experience all 20 commissions across one weekend at Southbank Centre from 13-15 July. Don’t miss your chance to get involved in talks, debates and workshops, as well as a unique opportunity to book a one-to-one composer surgery with one of the New Music 20×12 composers.

Find out more / book tickets

PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music 20×12 is a UK-wide commissioning programme initiated by Jillian Barker and David Cohen, and delivered in partnership with the BBC, LOCOG and NMC Recordings.

 

BRYN TERFEL APPEARS ON NEWSNIGHT

Bryn Terfel appeared on Newsnight last night to talk about his festival Brynfest which is at the Southbank Centre next week. You can also see his encore from Tuesday evening’s concert with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.

Watch here from 39 mins in >>

SOUNDS VENEZUELA IN FULL SWING

Our weekend of free events, workshops and performances is almost finished! We have had a fantastic couple of days exploring the power of art and music to change the world. We have had great responses from loads of people who were here to take part, including this blog  on Sinfini Music. On the matter of Saturday’s concert, The Guardian said that Dudamel displayed ” instinctive virtuosity” and Bachtrack commented that “the power he brought to the music was astonishing”.

We are finishing the weekend with a bang with tonight’s sold out concert by the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and Gustavo Dudamel. Watch the live stream of the sold out concert here: www.guardian.co.uk/bolivarlive and join in the conversation on twitter tonight using #bolivarlive.

You can now watch Saturday’s concert in full on the Southbank Centre Classical Music microsite until the end of the summer!

COMPOSER DAVID BRAID AND PIANIST SERGEI PODOBEDOV ON BBC RADIO 3 + SPECIAL OFFER ON TICKETS

Composer David Braid and pianist Sergei Podobedov will appear together on BBC Radio 3’s InTune programme on June 29th ahead of their forthcoming concert at Southbank Centre. The show starts at 4.30pm that day but will also be available on iplayer.

David will be discussing his recent work and Sergei will be performing ‘Lyrical Toccata’ one of the ‘Three Pieces for Piano’ that feature on David’s new CD with Toccata Classics: ‘Chamber and Instrumental Music’, Please see: http://bit.ly/LaTRXo for details of the new disc, which will be released next month.

Sergei will also be performing some movements from Schumann’s Carnaval, which he will perform in full at David Braid’s forthcoming CD launch concert at the Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, on Monday 2nd July at 19:45.

We are offering a special offer on tickets for this event – £8 for the best available seats. Simply type the word ‘BRAIDMUSIC’ into the promo-code box on the event page before choosing your seats.

For more information on David Braid and Sergei Podobedov, please see: www.davidbraid.net and http://www.sergeipodobedov.com

To find out more about the concert, and to book tickets, click here