CNMAT Presents:

Pianist Jenny Q Chai in Sonorous Brushes
A Multi-Sensory Concert Featuring Works by Debussy, Durieux, Ravel, Messiaen, and a California Premiere by Jarosław Kapuściński using Antescofo Software

CNMAT presents contemporary Chinese-American pianist Jenny Q Chai in Sonorous Brushes, a multi-sensory program employing Chai’s unique form of synesthesia. The program explores repertoire that lives at the intersection of color and sound, exploring this meeting of the senses through important works of the colorful Impressionistic era paired with new works created using Artificial Intelligence technology. In order to fully realize this concept, Chai completed a six-month residency at Cité des Arts in Paris, where she worked simultaneously on the musical performance and the paintings associated with each score. Sonorous Brushes was designed and premiered at Wigmore Hall in London on June 26, 2018.

The program features Debussy Etudes Pour les huit doigts and Pour les quartes, Les tierces alternée and Feux d’artifice from Debussy’s Prelude Book 2 No.11, Frédéric Durieux’s Pour tous ceux qui tombent – Hommage à Ravel, Ravel’s Oiseux tristes, and Messiaen’s Cantéyodjayâ. The evening ends with two audio-visual works by Polish composer and Stanford University Music Department Chair, Jarosław Kapuściński: Side Effects and the California premiere of Calligraphies for Ziqi.

Chai explains, “To begin our journey of synesthesia, we open with Frédéric Durieux’s Pour tous ceux qui tombent-Hommage à Ravel, a tribute to the melancholy often found in Ravel’s music, as so beautifully represented by Ravel’s Oiseux tristes. Messiaen’s Cantéyodjayâ, based on Indonesian rhythms, demonstrates the synesthetic composer’s use of sound palette in his own strong and expressionistic way. As we jump forward to the 21st century, Artificial Intelligence technologies such as the highly advanced Antescofo program allow computers to act as intelligent and attentive co-performers. As the performer plays, the computer listens and anticipates their actions. It can then play its own visual and audio parts as live electronics and visual artists would in real time. Using these techniques, Kapuściński created Calligraphies for Ziqi with a companion video that demonstrates a hyper-real view of calligraphy. Her speed of strokes and the layering of papers is directed and manipulated by the tempo and rubato choices of pianist's playing in real time."

Chai is a champion of Kapuściński’s music and has collaborated with him to test early versions of the groundbreaking synchronous score-following software program, Antescofo. Developed at IRCAM by scientist Arshia Cont and composer Marco Stroppa, the software offers a real-time computer response to live performance elements, enabling performers to create multimedia presentations of sophisticated and expressive fluency. Chai explored and helped hone Antescofo in residence at IRCAM alongside Kapuściński, and has since toured internationally with the software, offering multimedia performances in Shanghai, New York, Havana, and elsewhere.

Claude Debussy: Etude, Pour les huit doigts
Claude Debussy: Etude, Pour les quartes
Claude Debussy: Prelude Book 2 No.11, Les tierces alternées
Claude Debussy: Prelude Book 2 No.11, Feux d’artifice
Frédéric Durieux: Pour tous ceux qui tombent – Hommage à RAVEL
Maurice Ravel: Oiseux tristes
Olivier Messiaen: Cantéyodjayâ
Jarosław Kapuściński: Calligraphies for Ziqi (California Premiere)
Jarosław Kapuściński: Side Effects

About Jenny Q Chai
An artist of singular vision, pianist Jenny Q Chai is widely renowned for her ability to illuminate musical connections throughout the centuries. With radical joie de vivre and razor-sharp intention, Chai creates layered multimedia programs and events which explore and unite elements of science, nature, fashion, and art.

Based in both Shanghai and Paris, Chai’s instinctive understanding of new music is complemented by a deep grounding in core repertoire, with special affinity for Schumann, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, and Ravel. She is a noted interpreter of 20th-century masters Cage, Messiaen, and Ligeti, and her career is threaded through with strong relationships and close collaborations with a range of notable contemporary composers, including Marco Stroppa, Jarosław Kapuściński, and György Kurtág. With a deft poetic touch, Chai weaves this wide-ranging repertoire into a gorgeous and lucid musical tapestry.

Other notable highlights include her Carnegie Hall debut in 2012; many performances at (le) Poisson Rouge, including a 2016 Antescofo-supported program, Where’s Chopin?; lectures and recitals at the Shanghai Symphony Hall; a featured performance at the Leo Brouwer Festival in Havana, Cuba; Philippe Manoury’s double-piano concerto, Zones de turbulences, at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music (with duo partner, pianist Adam Kośmieja and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra); and much more.

Her immersive approach to music is also channeled into her work with FaceArt Institute of Music, the Shanghai-based organization she founded and runs, offering music education and an international exchange of music and musicians in China and beyond. Additionally, Chai serves on the Board of Directors of the New York City-based contemporary music organization Ear to Mind, and has published a doctoral dissertation on Marco Stroppa’s Miniature Estrose.

Chai has recorded for labels such as Deutschlandfunk, Naxos, and ArpaViva. In 2010, she released her debut recording, New York Love Songs – featuring interpretations of works by Cage and Ives, among others – and her most recent recording, Life Sketches: Piano Music of Nils Vigeland was released in 2014 by Naxos. She can also be heard on Michael Vincent Waller’s Five Easy Pieces and Cindy Cox’s Hierosgamos.

The recipient of the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust’s 2011 Pianist/Composer Commissioning Project, the DAAD Arts and Performance award in 2010, and first prize winner of the Keys to the Future Contemporary Solo Piano Festival, Jenny Q Chai has studied at the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and in Cologne University of Music and Dance. Her teachers include Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Seymour Lipkin, Solomon Mikowsky, and Anthony de Mare.

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Saturday, March 9, 2019, 8:00pm to 10:00pm
1750 Arch St.
Berkeley, CA
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