Season 4 of The Centre for the Less Good Idea features a number of pianos in various states of disrepair, as well as a single, pristinely-kept Steinway grand piano. The season also features two of the country’s best pianists, Jill Richards and Kyle Shepherd. While Shepherd and Richards will engage with almost all of the pianos over the course of the Season, they will also make use of the Steinway in a spectacular double bill piano programme.
The Piano programme is, in some senses, a lecture through the means of performance. Richards, who is a great interpreter of the Western tradition – from Classical through Romantics and Modernists – will perform Pierre Boulez’s Piano Sonata No. 2. A notoriously difficult piece to perform, Boulez’s Sonato No. 2 employs Serialism as a method of composition and will require Richards to exercise an incredible amount of discipline while also allowing her to place an emphasis on the physicality of her work as a pianist – something she’s been exploring throughout Season 4’s workshops.
This interpretation will be followed by a counter-example – Shepherd’s own Jazz composition. Having arrived at the Season 4 workshops with a desire to experiment beyond the realms of concert piano performance, Shepherd’s work will make use of spoken, non-musical, and other aural recordings that both exemplify and challenge his profound history of engagement with the piano.
By including recorded vocal samples of musicians such as Lionel Loueke and Zim Ngqawana, as well as ambient loops, Shepherd’s piece will be as much of a performance as it is an improvised conversation with these select sounds.
This double bill will provide audiences with some of the best piano playing in the country, while also allowing for each musician to access and engage the work of the other.
PHOTOGRAPHER | Zivanai Matangi