September 21, 2009

A drowned piano will be making its way across North America and Europe this fall during theinternational tour of PicturesReframed, a collaborative performance by Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and visualartist Robin Rhode. Debuting at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall on November 13 (thentraveling to 16 cities, from Houston to Moscow), it’s their interpretation ofMussogorsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition—a 19th-century programmatic showpiecefor piano, which Andsnes performs surrounded by videos and imagery created by Rhode.“It’s always been in evolution,” Andsnes says of Mussogorsky’s piece, whichwas originally inspired by the composer’s visit to a show of works by his late friend, theRussian painter Victor Hartmann. Everyone from Maurice Ravel to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer has had ago at it. “It’s one of these very great visions,” he adds, “but it’salso a very open work of art.” For Rhode, who grew up in South Africa listening to jazz,soul, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop, the inundated ivories, which appear onscreen at the climax ofthis new version, represent both a sacrifice and an homage. “It’s almost as if thepiano becomes a lost treasure,” he explains by phone from his current home in Berlin,“which carries the burden of history.”

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