Shana Kirk is a pianist, teacher, technology consultant, and arts advocate in Denver, CO. Focusing on teaching and performing technologies, she presents performances and workshops at music and music education events and conferences nationwide. She is also a frequent contributor to publications such as American Music Teacher and Clavier Companion.
TUSCALOOSA (April 26, 2017) – In the spring of 2017, just as the semester was coming to a close, the University of Alabama's Dr. Edischer Savitsky helped introduce the institution to the concept of high-resolution distance learning. Using a Disklavier on loan to the school, he performed and taught a masterclass from another Disklavier at Yamaha's Artist Services Salon in New York City via the Remote Lesson feature.
Le Poisson Rouge is a gem of Manhattan's West Village, attracting the cutting edge of creatives from contemporary dance, performance art, theatre, music, and any combination of the above. Called "the coolest place to hear contemporary music in New York," by the New York Times, it only makes sense that the multimedia-ready theatre would include a Disklavier in their collection of instruments and technology. Artists from genre-defying Francesco Tristano to improvisation icon Dan Tepfer to the electronics pioneer/composer/trombonist George Lewis have used the Disklavier in their performances.
Yamaha artist Dan Tepfer has long embraced the Disklavier as a performance tool. Using the Disklavier's ability to send and receive data in real time, Tepfer combines algorithmic computer programming and MIDI-driven visualizations to produce unique performances in which the piano becomes an equal partner to the composer.
Yamaha's My Music Recorder iOS app has been around for several years, providing a cute and handy way for students, teachers, and parents to keep a video record of practicing, as well as share achievements on YouTube. Now, a hidden feature will also allow Disklavier (E3 and Enspire only) users to create and play back VIDEO SYNC performances without the cumbersome tether of audio cables! Here's how it works:
1. Connect a MD-BT01 or UD-BT01 Bluetooth MIDI adapter to the MIDI jacks of your Disklavier. (For E3, don't forget to select the MIDI input/output you are using: MIDI or USB) 2. Launch the My Music Recorder App 3. Click the gear wheel icon to connect Bluetooth (you'll get a reminder if you do not already have Bluetooth enabled on your device)
Here's a tweet from our friends at Yamaha Canada to show how it works!
Composer, performer, and music theorist George E. Lewis recently joined Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran in a special performance celebrating the 35th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows program. Lewis and Moran are both past MacArthur Fellows, named in 2002 and 2010, respectively. In discussing the work, Lewis detailed the setup of the one-of-a-kind performance, enthusiastically drawing on his 25-year history with the Disklavier, calling it a "reliable instrument, great instrument, great sound."
Later in the discussion, Lewis makes analogies between musical artificial intelligence and computer-controlled anti-lock brake systems or even the Mars Rover, driving the point that there are many parallels between musical interaction and the operations of the everyday world.
The work, essentially an improvised chamber piece for piano, trombone, and computer-controlled Disklavier, incorporates electronic elements, namely a degree of artificial intelligence, without any electronic sounds. The computer programming "listens" for musical elements via audio of the live players, then interprets them and interacts via the Disklavier.
In addition to creating the Voyager interactive music performance software used in this performance, George Lewis is the author of The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies, a two-volume work that examines the process of improvisation both in and out of the arts.