Matthew Herbert is set to debut his latest, typically ambitious, project in Oxford before bringing it to London later this summer.
The producer/DJ/label boss/studio founder/big band leader/polymath will be telling the stories of 20 pianos from around the world, from Steinways at famous locations to forgotten out-of-tune family pianos. They’ll each be sampled, photographed, and a short oral history documented. A solo composition will be played on a simple table, turned into a virtual piano through bespoke soft/hardware created by the New Radiophonic Workshop.
Pianos selected for the work include John Lennon’s piano, a new Steinway piano fresh off the production line, Shoreditch Church’s piano and one played by Rachmaninov.
Herbert himself says: “The composition will be for solo pianist, inspired by the stories of the pianos and their owners. I’ll commission my colleagues at the Radiophonic Workshop to create bespoke software and hardware that can transform a simple inanimate object, like a table, in to a virtual piano. Conjuring the sounds of these pianos from thin air – a kind of conjuring trick.”
Matthew Herbert will perform 20 Pianos at the Spitalfields Music Summer Festival on 15 June 2014 and the Southbank Centre on 5 July. Find out more here.