Art and music improvisation: an observation and reflection

Watching an art and music improvisation session reminded me of the various collaborations I’ve had with artists in London, Utrecht, Crete, and Brugges. It’s about the process.

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As a finishing touch to my recent application for an innovation grant, I asked the Maui-based artist Mike Takemoto if he would consider having his students collaborate with mine. I was thinking along the lines of an exhibit of paintings of musicians, music instruments, or music notes. It would be an extension of the piano ensemble poster exhibit that I “curated” and organized with the photography teacher Harvey Reed and his photo and design students last spring. Such interdisciplinary collaboration raised awareness of the activities we wanted to promote.

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Glass works on water at the Monument House Utrecht

Music after concerts at the Monument House in Utrecht by pianist Brendan Kinsella and art exhibition of Liz Miller.

After the thirty black chairs have been folded and removed from the ground floor, the Monument House is once again spacious and full of potential. Two days after the last concert of 2nd July 2011, I asked Brendan Kinsella to play something on the piano so I could capture that feeling of peace and freedom. That afternoon before he left for the Hague, we were sightreading the multi-hand piano duets I had collected — and thus the sheet music scattered on the floor. Earlier that morning, pianist Nathanael May, who gave the previous concert on 1st July, had left for Milan, Italy to open the annual contemporary music festival he founded in 2005 and still directs.

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