A fixture in New York's new-music scene, often as a member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, pianist Vicky Chow has worked with a formidable and varied roster of composers and performers, from John Adams and Terry Riley to Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo. She was a featured performer in last week's Bang on a Can People's Commissioning Fund Concert, performs with the piano sextet Grand Band and will perform at the MATA Festival 2014.
Pianist Vicky Chow writes:
"When I was young
I'd listen to the radio
Waitin' for my favorite songs
When they played I'd sing along
It made me smile."
-The Carpenters, Yesterday Once More
I love mixtapes. I made them throughout the '90s. First I recorded my favorite songs when they played on the radio with my dad's cassette tape recorder. Later when a computer and the internet were around, I burned CD mixes for my friends and for parties. I decorated them with sparkle and nail polish and stickers and tried to make cool-looking fonts and designs with my magic markers. During my senior year of high school when I was communications officer on the student council, I made short 15 minute mixtapes every day to play over the intercom throughout the entire school during the recess announcements.
When I was at the Manhattan School of Music Contemporary Performance Program, we decided one year to make Secret Santa mixtapes for one another. Everyone somehow just KNEW who made theirs. I made mine for Jeff Gavett (of emkeles) and I received one from Alejandro Acierto (of Chicago's Dal Niente Ensemble).
Recently, I started performing short contemporary piano pieces in a collection to imitate the experience of the old school mixtape, but instead with a live performer.
The selection I've made are pairings of pieces featuring the piano. Each of the pairings emphasize a certain aspect of music (color, rhythm and texture) either through the use of electronics, texture, multiplicities and layerings, and/or all/none of them.
I hope you enjoy the auditory meal.
Terry Riley - Keyboard Study No.1
Nik Bartsch - Modul TM & Modul 5
Donnacha Dennehy - Reservoir
Florent Ghys - Coma Carus
Thomas Adès - Darknesse Visible
Chris Cerrone - Hoyt-Schermerhorn
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto - Moon