Nov. 19: Duo Axis Concert

Baird Recital Hall, 7:30 pm

Duo Axis: Zach Sheets and Wei-Han Wu

Duo Axis will use their CAI residency to focus on the nature of duo playing itself. Duo collaboration has in the past consisted of two important but discrete forces. The goal of this project is instead to create a seamless unity of two moving bodies who happen to make sounds as their medium of communication to the audience. By moving fluidly through various identities and tasks as performers, the pianist and flutist will be able to occupy each other’s mental and physical space, melding as one. They seek to develop their collaborative model to produce performances whose aural and visual result is interactive and multi-dimensional.

The concert will feature premieres of works for flute and piano by Anthony Vine and Zach Sheets, as well as duo and solo compositions by Tonia Ko, Eric Wubbels, Katie Balch, and David Felder. In these works, the performers will expand upon conventional roles as pianist and flutist, and interact with each other physically and visually. A special collaboration between Zach Sheets and UB composer Matthew Chamberlain will also take place during our residency, for the two to work together on Chamberlain’s innovative research on notational models and algorithmic composition with special flute fingerings.

Many performers think of the keyboardist as just an “accompanist”, a lesser role, providing harmonic and textural support for the soloist. Recent composers have elevated the role of the pianist through new repertoire that features equal musical dialogue between the duo instruments. The next evolution of duo collaboration, we believe, lies in the fluidity of roles and the new sets of tasks each performer takes on beyond playing their instruments. In our curated production, duo-playing manifests in intersection in intention and body, while the flute and piano happen to be the principal mediums where sonic events take place. The performers will collaborate and communicate with each other, and the audience, through the sounds they make on their own instruments, as well as in choreographed body movements, breathing, and physical participation in each other’s musical production.