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Neo-Bechstein

Sunday, 8 February 2004

ZKM Cube, 19.00 hrs, admission 5 / 3

Reinhold Friedl at the historical electro-acoustic piano
Sensor-controlled space sound distribution: Sukandar Kartadinata

A co-production by MaerzMusik / Berliner Festspiele, Recombinant Media Labs / asphodel CA and ZKM Karlsruhe

An exceptional pianist at an exceptional piano: Reinhold Friedl, who is well known for his numerous CD recordings with the ensemble zeitkratzer that he founded and heads, plays the last surviving Neo-Bechstein, an electric piano built by Bechstein in cooperation with Siemens and Telefunken in 1929/30. In terms of its basic construction the Neo-Bechstein is a normal piano with its strings amplified by 18 sound pick-ups. This amplification fits in very well with the inside-piano techniques Friedl has developed, because this form of amplification enhances only the sound of the strings, whereas the use of microphones with an ordinary piano means that all the ambient noise is amplified, too.

The fact that the pick-ups of the Neo-Bechstein can easily be converted from their original mono output [all 18 pick-ups in a row] into a multi-channel system make this piano ideal for sound space compositions. On the other hand, the gestural qualities of the inside piano techniques mean that they have to be analysed by sensors so that the control signal can direct the spatial distribution of the outputs to several different loudspeakers. Sukandar Kartadinata, a technician who has not only accompanied substantial space sound projects, but also designs sensor systems himself along with the relevant hardware components for analysis, conversion and sound control, will be in charge of the electronic aspect of the performance

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