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An AudioVisual free improvisation performance for piano and live electronics


Derive/thrive is a piano performance set that spans three disciplines at once. It combines high-voltage free improvisation with live electronics and reactive visuals.

The live electronics were programmed with puredata and acts as an extension of the piano. It prolongs the sustain of the piano where it would normally decay; it allows the pitches to be shifted, pulled up or down, reminiscent of string pizzicati and it shadows the performer polyphonically in a way that a single performer can never achieve alone. The sounds of the piano are picked up by two condenser microphones and the processed stereo audio output through two loudspeakers.

The visuals were developed in Processing. They are deliberately minimal and monochrome to allow the location to be set in total darkness. When projected on to the reflective surface of the piano, the room fills with ambient reflection, creating an immersive experience. Both electronics and visuals are controlled via a midi controller.

The project was developed in 2019 and a full performance lasts around 15 to 20 minutes. It was realized in the Musikakademie Kassel with support from Frank Gerhardt's studio. A performance requires 2 condenser microphones, 2 loudspeakers, a midi controller (like the Korg NanoKontrol) and a projector.