23 artists make a ‘preparation’ each for a grand piano. Three sets of musicians are then tasked with constructing individual live performances with the adaptable unit of preparations.
Preparation - /ˌprɛpəˈreɪʃ(ə)n/
• (music) an object that alters the sound of a piano when placed on or between the strings
• something prepared, manufactured, or compounded
• the act of preparing
• The event itself consists of three semi-improvised 15-30 minute performances. The musicians are instructed to use as many of the 23 preparations as possible in their performances, and in-between sets the audience are invited to view and interact with the piano and the preparations themselves.
• Each pianist has up to three hours practice with the piano and the preparations before the show. No vocal mic is provided for the performance. Instead, any voice used acts as an additional preparation projected into the body of the piano.
• The artists are instructed that their preparation must:
- fit comfortably in the palm of the hand - if the object expands from a handheld size that is acceptable, e.g. a larger cloth that folds down to palm size.
- be one single object - any appendages must be attached and not easily disassemble into different parts - e.g. you could have three ping pong balls dangling from a firmly attached string, but three individual ping pong balls with no connection wouldn't count.
- not damage the piano in any way (unless the owner of the piano allows it) - this includes materials that disintegrate, leave residue, or are so sharp it may cut the strings/performer.
- be robust enough to withstand three 30 minutes performances inside the piano.
• 23 artists have been chosen due to the average amount of strings in a grand piano being 230, hopefully making it possible for all strings to be touched by at least one preparation.
• Subsequent event numbering: Preparations ii, iii, iiii, iiiii…
John Cage - How the Piano Came to be Prepared (1974)
"Late Works: Preparations is a most welcome report on state-of-the-art prepared piano." - Avant Music News
"It's a fantastic collection. Not to be missed!" - Endaural