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Tribeca New Music to Present LOCKDOWN FANTASIES


Composer Neil Rolnick pioneered the use of computers in musical performance, beginning in the late 1970s.

TNM will present Lockdown Fantasies, a world premiere for solo piano and electronics by composer Neil Rolnick performed by Geoffrey Burleson. The music is a five-part pianistic tour-de-forcespanning a wide variety of spirit, energy, and beauty, and takes place at Nancy Manocherian's - The Cell theatre, 338 West 23rd Street, in NYC, 10011.

About the music:

I intended to write a different piece. I had elaborate plans for the piece I'd write for pianist
Geoffrey Burleson, ways I planned to exploit his brilliant technique and musicality, his willingness to engage with electronics to process the piano. But when I sat down to start writing the piece in March of 2020, there was no way I could follow my carefully laid-out musical plans. The pandemic had upended everyone's plans globally, and
I was no exception. To break the monotony of the early days of the lockdown I often rode my bike around the City, overwhelmed by the empty streets and bridges and parks. A deserted city of 10 million.

So I threw away my plans, and just wrote. I thought of Geoff's technical prowess as giving me permission to write whatever I could imagine for the piano, though I did query him about anything I thought might be unplayable. And the electronic parts, all of which are real-time processing or looping of the piano, and all of which he controls while playing, seemed to grow organically out of the musical material. I think of the piano and its electronic aura as a single enhanced instrument, with the acoustic sounds spawning impossible electronic textures, and then re-emerging with lyrical or percussive or more traditionally contrapuntal playing. The
combination is, I think, a little surreal, with echoes and processed notes floating out of acoustic playing, and merging the acoustic and the electronic, the real and the virtual. Much like my experience of the lockdown.

The music coalesced into five pieces. At first I called them meditations, but they're not really meditative. They don't follow any particular form, each one progresses differently, and each seems to follow its own emotional or gestural threads to their end. So they're fantasies. Imagining and writing these pieces helped me make it through the long months of 2020-2021's lockdown. I'm grateful for that, and hope you'll enjoy the journey with them.

- Neil Rolnick

About Neil Rolnick

Composer Neil Rolnick pioneered the use of computers in musical performance, beginning in the late 1970s. Based in New York City since 2002, his music has been performed worldwide, including recent performances in China and Mexico and across the US. His string quartet Oceans Eat Cities was performed at the UN Global Climate Summit in Paris in Dec. 2015. From 2016 to 2019 he received support from CEC ArtsLink, the Bogliasco Foundation, New Music USA and NYSCA.

About Geoffrey Burleson

Pianist Geoffrey Burleson is equally active as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician, and jazz performer, and has performed to wide acclaim throughout Europe and North America. Current recording projects include Camille Saint-Saëns: Complete Piano Works, on 6 CDs, for the Naxos Grand Piano label. The first five volumes have been released to high acclaim from Gramophone, International Record Review, Diapason (France) and elsewhere.

Tickets and information for this live performance can be accessed here:

Performance Details:

Tribeca New Music presents Lockdown Fantasies
A tour-de-force for solo piano and electronics
Neil Rolnick, music; Geoffrey Burleson, piano
This Live Concert Premiere is Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 8PM EST
at Nancy Manocherian's - The Cell, in NYC.

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