Piano Concerto

Media Installation
audio surround, projection mapping sculpture, video portraits

“... a piano concerto for an era when classical music is in flux.”
~Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle

Description
Playing the piano can oftentimes be lonely. Recognizing this, composer Byron Au Yong and artist Susie J. Lee gather pianists to share stories. Thinking about the concerto as a form for a soloist and ensemble, Au Yong and Lee consider each pianist as a soloist and an ensemble member.

Lee films the pianists. Au Yong provides an open notation Piano Concerto score. 11 pianists rehearse together, then record. This results in an intimate installation of solo video portraits and an ensemble audio sculpture.

Audio
Video Portrait Excerpts

Details
Duration: variable
Commissioned and presented by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston
2014 Premiere at the CounterCurrent Festival, Bermac Arts Center
2015 (Im)materiel Exhibition at the Headlands Center for the Arts
2016 New Strands Festival at the American Conservatory Theatre

Installation:
  • 4-channel audio installation
  • 4-channel video projection
  • HDTV for video portraits
Media Sculpture

Creative Team
Byron Au Yong, composer and co-creator
Susie J. Lee, social sculptor and co-creator

Soyoung Shin, cinematographer, photographer
Will Gibbs, technical director
Afshin Farzadfar, recording engineer
Robb Kunz, audio mastering
Jared Bender, sculpture fabrication
Joe Freeman, photographer

Houston Pianists
Sonya Bandouil · Jason Castaneda · Stephen Fierros · Lisa E. Harris · Timothy Hester · Darrell Jenkins · Saun Cheng Lee · Andreea Mut · Robert Rhodes · Linda Singer · Jenni Rebecca Stephenson

Score


Press Quote
“In January, they found 11 Houston musicians of varying abilities and styles to play Au Yong’s concerto, including a professor of piano at the Moores School of Music, a lawyer who played to support himself through school and still keeps a piano in one of his three offices, an opera singer who plays improvisationally, and a brother and sister who have played piano since they were children, but not professionally.”
Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle
Timeline
Piano Concerto–Houston
  • February/March: Individual Interviews of pianists in their home or studio
  • March: Public Gathering with all 11 participants to meet, share stories & rehearse
  • March: Audio/Video Recording of pianist portraits
  • April: Installation presented at the Mitchell Center for the Arts CounterCurrent Festival
Byron Au Yong and Susie Lee
Susie J. Lee and Byron Au Yong · Photo © 2014 by Joe Freeman
Special Thanks
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Karen Farber, Frye Art Museum, David Garcia, Katrina Hess, Kerry Inman, LD Systems, Tiffany Lin, Kimball McMahan, Bryan Miller, Frank Minoru Phillips, MicroSearch Pro Video Sales & Rental, Moores School of Music, Nicole Romano, Tom Stiles, Chris Strompolos, Teruhiko Toda, Margret Truax, University of Houston, Rick Valentine, Emily C. Watts