CIRMMT Distinguished Lecture
Marilyn Nonken, NYU Steinhardt


The spectral piano: An ecological inquiry

The spectral attitude towards musical composition, which emerged in Paris in the mid 1970s but finds precedent in the aesthetics of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, would seek to explore the evolution of timbre in time as the basis for the musical experience. Over the past forty years, it has changed the way composers have approached the piano; as digital technology has transformed the way we understand sound, it has radically changed the way contemporary composers have approached writing for the purely acoustic instrument. An examination piano works explores the changing and changed attitudes of composer, performer, and listener.

When & where
Thursday, October 16 @ 4:30pm
CIRMMT, Tanna Schulich Hall, McGill University, 527 Sherbrooke Street West

This lecture-recital will include full performances of Claude Vivier's Shiraz (1977), Tristan Murail's Territoires de l'oubli (1979), Dominique Troncin's Ciel ouvert (1993), and Joshua Fineberg's Grisaille (2012).

Pianist Marilyn Nonken, Associate Professor of Music and Music Education and Director of Piano Studies at New York University's Steinhardt School, is one of the most celebrated champions of the modern repertoire of her generation, known for performances that explore transcendent virtuosity and extremes of musical expression.

Her performances have been presented at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, the Guggenheim Museum, (Le) Poisson Rouge, IRCAM and the Théâtre Bouffe du Nord (Paris), the ABC (Melbourne), Instituto-Norteamericano (Santiago), the Music Gallery (Toronto), Constellation (Chicago), the Phillips Collection, and the Menil Collection, as well as conservatories and universities around the world. Festival appearances include Résonances and the Festival d'Automne (both, Paris) and When Morty Met John, Making Music, and Works and Process (all New York), American Sublime (Philadelphia), The Festival of New American Music (Sacramento), Musica Nova (Helsinki), Aspects des Musiques d'Aujourd-hui (Caen), Messiaen 2008 (Birmingham, UK), New Music Days (Ostrava), Musikhøst (Odense), Music on the Edge (Pittsburgh), Piano Festival Northwest (Portland), and the William Kapell International Piano Festival and Competition. Highlights of recent seasons have included music of Hugues Dufourt, Dominique Troncin, Gerard Pesson, Tristan Murail, and Claude VIvier, as well as collaborations with emerging composers such as Paul Clift, Christopher Trapani, and Drew Baker. Her recordings include the complete piano works of Murail, Messiaen's "Visions de l'Amen" (with Sarah Rothenberg), and the most recent "Voix Voilees: Spectral Music for Piano." Her monograph, "The Spectral Piano: From Liszt, Scriabin and Debussy to the Digital Age" was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014.