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. 

 

 

Ether 2011: Digital artist Klaus Obermaier on revamping The Rite of Spring

Rites

Klaus Obermaier, digital artist behind The Rite of spring in 3D, in conversation with Southbank Centre’s Head of Contemporary Culture, Gillian Moore.

GM: How have you managed to integrate a live dancer, live orchestra and screen?

KO: Stereo cameras and a complex computer system transfer the dancer Julia Mach to a virtual three-dimensional space. Time layers and unusual perspectives overlay one another and multiply themselves, enabling a completely new perception of the body and its sequences of movements. Real-time generated virtual spaces communicate and interact with the dancer. The human body is once more the interface between reality and virtuality. By means of 32 microphones the entire orchestra is integrated in the interactive process. Musical motifs, individual voices and instruments influence the form, movement and complexity of both the 3D projections of the virtual space and those of the dancer. Music is no longer the only starting point, it is the consummation of the choreography.

GM: What do you hope the audience will take away from the performance?

KO: First of all I hope the audience will have a great experience. Stereoscopic projections create an immersive environment, which permits the audience to participate much more closely in the performance than in traditional theatre settings. And of course it will raise some questions about our modern lives and the authenticity of experience in the light of the ongoing virtualisation of our habitats.

Catch Rites: Stravinky’s The Rite of Spring with 3D visuals live at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of Ether 2011 on 23 April. Get tickets here

Ether 2011: Rites – The Rite of Spring live in 3D

Ether has a history of bringing together seemingly the most unlikely of collaborators. This year is no different with Stravinsky’s seminal The Rite of Spring played live by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestraplus Klaus Obermaier’s stunning 3D visuals on a screen behind the orchestra. Julia Mach dances live to the music – a nod to Stravinsky’s original vision of his work as a ballet –  and her movements are interpreted in real-time into the visuals.

Have a look at this video to see what we mean. If you haven’t seen or heardThe Rite of Spring live before, this is one not to miss.

 

 

Catch Rites: Stravinky’s The Rite of Spring with 3D visuals live at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of Ether 2011 on 23 April. Get tickets here

 

Ether 2011: Louis Andriessen on his Ether premiere

Andriessen, photo: Francesca Patella

Louis Andriessen, photo: Francesca Patella

London Sinfonietta’s Sara Mohr-Pietsch visits composer Louis Andriessen in his Amsterdam studio to discuss his work to be performed tonight at Ether 2011, including the UK premiere of Anaïs Nin a new work for singer, ensemble and film and De Staat (The Republic) his 1976 work of jazz-infused politically charged minimalism.

 

Hear London Sinfonietta play Louis Andriessen at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on 14 April as part of Ether 2011. Get tickets here

 


Ether 2011: Get to know Colin Currie

Colin Currie, photo: Chris Dawes
Colin Currie, photo: Chris Dawes

The Colin Currie Group are returning to Southbank Centre this week for Ether 2011 with one of Steve Reich’s most acclaimed works, Drumming. We caught up with Colin to ask him our quick questions.

What do you fear the most and why?

Struggling to answer this one, so I guess I’m fairly fearless! I dislike pigeons however.

Which mobile number do you call the most?

I speak with my sister very often.

What – or where – is perfection?

Spending time with my nephew and niece who are 6 and 4 and full of wit and imagination.

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?

I enjoyed the Richard Katz character from Jonathan Franzen’s latest book ‘Freedom’ although he is not at all likeable.

What’s your favourite ritual?

I enjoy tea and toast at home following red-eye flights back from the USA, which I take most months.

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?

I met some very brave people in Mozambique whilst visiting there with World Vision.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?

I love basketball and in my other (imaginary) career I am an NBA star, in the mould of D Wade (Miami Heat).

Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank Centre?

Pierre-Laurent Aimard playing Messiaen’s ‘Vingt Regards’ and Barbara Hannigan tearing up Ligeti’s ‘Mysteries of the Macabre’. Good examples of what people can achieve when they put their minds to it.

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?

I would bring back Ian Curtis and have a Joy Division re-union.

What’s your favourite website?

www.nba.com

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Be yourself and not what others or convention want you to be.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?

Anything by Stravinsky.

The Colin Currie Group plays Steve Reich’s Drumming as part of Ether 2011 at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on 8 & 9 April 2011. Get tickets here