Wigmore Hall Presents Pianist Jenny Q Chai

  • News
  • June 18, 2018
Just as painters and visual artists employ the vast range of colors in the chromatic spectrum, composers and performers use the endless sonic spectrum to create and evoke musical worlds. As a pianist and an amateur painter, I have discovered a personal form of synesthesia – a melding of senses – in regards to how I experience music. This quasi-impressionistic and expressionistic program presents repertoire which truly lives at the intersection of color and sound, exploring this meeting of the senses. While practicing and preparing each piece of music, I seek to translate my mental imagery into the real world, both through my musical performance and on the canvas.

In order to fully realize this program, I completed a six-month residency at Cité des Arts in Paris, where I worked simultaneously on the musical performance and the paintings of the scores.
Fittingly, the repertoire of this program pays homage to the most important French composers of the Impressionistic era (the period of musical innovation that is perhaps most strongly tied to a corresponding visual artistic movement). The set of Debussy works explore his use of colors and how it evolved from his last two preludes to his etudes, which were composed towards the end of his life.
Frédéric Durieux’s Pour tous ceux qui tombent-Hommage à Ravel(For all those who fall – Homage to Ravel) relates to the melancholy often found in Ravel’s music, as so beautifully represented by Ravel’sOiseux tristes(Sad Birds) immediately afterwards. The massive piece Cantéyodjayâ by Messiaen, based on Indonesian rhythm, is placed at the golden section of the program. It demonstrates the allover synesthetic composer’s use of palette in his very own way, strong and expressionistic.
The program ends with two audio-visual works by Polish composer Jarosław Kapuscinski. With new Artificial Intelligence technologies using the computer as an audiovisual canvas, it is possible to develop new music and musicians to perform with
this technology. The composition process involves integrating visual ideas from the start and using music and imagery on a structural, emotive, and semantic levels. With Antescofo score following technology, the computer can be turned into an intelligent and attentive co-performer. As the pianist plays, the computer listens and anticipates her actions. It can then play its own visual and audio parts as a live electronics and visual artist would.