"88 MPH" for Magnetic Resonator Piano
Nic Gerpe, Magnetic Resonator Piano
Composed by Alexander Elliott Miller
People Inside Electronics Concert
Neighborhood Church of Pasadena, Pasadena, CA
April 18th, 2015
At some point after being invited to write for the Magnetic Resonator Piano, I formed a fun connection in my head between the device and the time machine from Back to the Future. It started as a joke at a party, and then the joke stuck. Among the reasons for the image not going away: both the MRP and the Flux Capacitor are adapters that modify a traditional object (Grand Piano / DeLorean) giving that object amazing new powers, and both are ingenious inventions with a mad scientist behind them, and strange wires and electrodes protruding wildly from them. And then there are the numbers: 2015 being the year this piece was written and premiered, as well as the "future" year of Doc and Marty's travels, and lastly, the number 88, representing both the speed at which time travel takes place, and the number of keys on the piano.
My intention has been to use the powers of the MRP to evoke the playful spirit and fun of the Back to the Future movies, with only a few veiled quotations of Alan Silvestri's score, along with, perhaps, a few distant echoes of Marty McFly's take on Chuck Berry. My thanks to Nic Gerpe for his invitation to write "88 MPH", People Inside Electronics for their amazing concert series, and Andrew McPherson, for his wondrous invention that is certain to take us all to an amazing musical and artistic future.
ABOUT THE MAGNETIC RESONATOR PIANO (notes by Andrew McPherson)
Created by London-based composer-researcher Andrew McPherson, the Magnetic Resonator Piano is a hybrid acoustic-electronic instrument which augments the capabilities of the traditional piano. Electromagnets inside the instrument induce the strings to vibration, creating infinite sustain, crescendos from silence, harmonics, pitch bends and new timbres. Sensors on the keyboard record the continuous position of every key. The instrument is played with an extended performance technique that includes partial key presses, light taps and sweeps, vibrato and variable pressure into the key bed. The magnetic resonator piano has been used in performances worldwide by over a dozen composers, including in recent projects with the London Chamber Orchestra and the band These New Puritans.
ABOUT PEOPLE INSIDE ELECTRONICS
People Inside Electronics (PIE) is a concert series devoted to the performance and promotion of live electro-acoustic music in Los Angeles. Since its inception in 2009, PIEʼs events have been lauded by the LA Times, Sequenza21, LA Opus, the Huffington Post and KPFKʼ s Global Village. PIE showcases ambitious and innovative uses of electronics in concert music, as well as classic works by electronic music’s early pioneers. Past events have included several world premieres, performances of rarely heard monumental works, and interdisciplinary collaborations with visual artists, dancers, writers, actors, scientists and engineers. PIE is dedicated to showcasing the vibrant community of local talent in southern California as well as being a destination for hosting internationally renowned artists. In 2014, PIE became an independent non-profit organization with legally recognized 501(c)(3) status.
People Inside Electronics is:
Aron Kallay, executive director
Isaac Schankler, artistic director
Rafael Liebich, music director
Colin Horrocks, assistant director
- Magnetic Resonator Piano