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PPPPPP : instrumental music theatre for 6 pianists

by Caroline Wilkins (2009)

Audio Sample

Performance by Piano Circus from the CD Selected works by AMC represented artists

Selected works by AMC represented artists


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.

[Music by] Caroline Wilkins.


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


[Music by] Caroline Wilkins.

Version: This product features the Keyboard music version of this work

Library shelf no. CD 1067 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

In this work I will explore the spatial arrangement of 6 keyboards and their players placed in a ring formation, around which the audience can move freely.

The 6 keyboards are grouped in a circle, the players facing each other. Monitor speakers are placed next to each instrument and 4 larger speakers (Genelecs) placed in the four extreme corners of the room to provide surround sound in the arena space around the performers. The audience moves freely around the stage space, seeing and hearing the performance from any vantage point.

An important element in this work is the use of three different kinds of light projection: still lights in the form of spotlights on centre stage / arena, back-projected spotlight(s) through the texture of the hung paper rolls, and moving light on to their front surface in the form of video projection.

In the second example six perforated piano rolls are suspended from the overhead grid and lit from behind so as to illuminate their graphic patterns. At one point towards the end of the performance a video projection of the players - close-up images of hands and keyboards taken from a previous rehearsal - is projected on to the front of the suspended note rolls, (backlight off) the film taking on an abstract, 'grainy' quality due to their texture and the perforations on the surface of the paper.

Work Details

Year: 2009

Instrumentation: 6 electric keyboards with monitor loudspeakers, quadrophonic sound system with mixing board, 6 piano rolls suspended on wires from ceiling or rigging, video projector, DVD player.    

Duration: 25 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Synchronization between parts, technically demanding passages

First performance: by Piano Circus — Mar 11. Brunel University

The composer cites the following influences on this work:
Georg Antheil, Igor Stravinsky, Conlon Nancarrow

This work is an adaptation of material originally written for player piano and piano player, to be staged with lighting, objects, video & choreography.


PPPPPP film by Ollala Lemus

This is an excerpt from a film created specially for my concert installation 'PPPPPP' (2010). The work involves 6 electric keyboards, suspended piano rolls, choreographed movement and lighting. It is based on an earlier piece, 'PPPPP' for player piano and piano player. The film takes images of multiple keyboards and renders them gradually more abstract.

PPPPP by Caroline Wilkins

PPPPP or Piece for Player Piano and Piano Player (1990) was written for a mechanical player piano operated by a piano roll and live piano. This is a video production of the work shortly before its first performance at Academy Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany, in 1992. The AMPICO mechanical piano belonged to Juergen Hocker, an exponent of Nancarrow's player piano music. The pianist is Sven-Thomas Kiebler.

Performances of this work

Mar 11: Brunel University. Featuring Piano Circus.

28 Nov 92: Academy Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany. Featuring Sven Thomas Kiebler, Juergen Hocker.

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