Mount Demographic Written for 20 out-of-tune pianos, Edit Festival, Eindhoven, 2007.
Mount Demographic was performed in the Philip’s Factory in Eindhoven, part of the Edit festival in 2007. Six composers, myself and Hikari Kiyama, Teodora Stepancic, Jeremiah Runnels, Taylan Susam and Ingi Gardar Erlendsson, all wrote pieces for this wonderfully unusual ensemble. Aside from the composers involved, the other performers were volunteer musicians who ranged between the ages of 13 and 65. In several of the pieces the composers made use of the ‘silent-disco’system, which allowed all the players to hear a conducting track.
Mount Demographic was a rather conscious attempt to bring together my experience with Gamelan music with the unlikely combination of 20 out-of-tune pianos. I used a rather heuristic approach, with a degree of literalness as well as creative flexibility. Prior to composing the piece, I made readings on all of the pianos (thanks to Teodora’s absolute pitch) which allowed me to treat the ensemble akin to transposing instruments. In the end, the tuning was not at all exact, but my ‘chance-ballparking’ did result in chords and harmonies of rich sonority and complexity.
The pianos were destroyed a few months after this performance. RIP.
GF – 2008