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Abstract

"Suggested Affinities" is a concerto for piano, accompanied by 13 musicians and electronics. At the center of the work is the piano sound itself, which is ramified and transfigured through its interaction with the ensemble, electronics, and an obbligato trio of timbrally related instruments (harp, vibraphone, and digital keyboard). The narrative of the composition explores affinities and differences between the piano and its related family members, between the acoustic and digital domains, and finally, between mechanized and animate sound.,The electronic component features realistic sounding meta-instruments—instruments with an unusually expanded palette for articulation, microtonal inflection, tessitura, resonance, and noise elements. Through the use of hardware “prosthetics”—localized speakers, keyboards, and/or pedals—the solo pianist and obbligato trio trigger digital instrumental simulations (with its new vocabulary of estranged possibilities) that blend in real-time with their acoustic counterpart. ,"Suggested Affinities" is the culmination of research carried out over a series of works using meta-instruments written between 2014-17. It combines previous instrumental expansions and further develops the project by interacting with non-instrumental sounds. Murmurs, breaths, groans and other emulations, are also included in the orchestration and electronics in an attempt to fashion a piano with a physical—organic—body. Thus, as the machine-like properties of the piano intensify, so does its dream of becoming a biological being.

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