The Prepared Piano was invented by John Cage in the mid-1940’s. He was the first to place objects on and between the piano strings in a controlled fashion to create a unique instrument, liberating music from the confines of just intonation and known scales. His efforts at bypassing the confines of Western music have resulted in new ways of thinking about music.
Drawn to these new directions, Roger Clark Miller has been utilizing prepared piano techniques since the early 1980’s. His first recorded use of prepared piano is in the Mission of Burma song TREM II (1982). He has continued to develop his approach leading to a broad understanding of the instrument.
Miller has many of his own compositions in repertoire, and has performed many of these in different situations. Prepared Piano featured heavily in the duo M2 (1 LP on Feeding Tube, 2010); the duo THE BINARY SYSTEM (3 cds, 1 on SST, 2 on Atavistic, 1994-1998); in MAXIMUM ELECTRIC PIANO (3 cds, 2 on Ace of Hearts, 1 on SST, 1986-1989); and in solo performance (BENEVOLENT DISRUPTIVE RAY cd on New Alliance, 1993).
VINES FOR MUSIC, Miller’s recent compositional success at the SICPP festival at The New England Conservatory, featured 3 pianists at one heavily prepared piano. The pianists were, to his happy surprise, extremely interested in preparing the piano and performing on it.
Miller said, “The idea of modifying the piano to obliterate regular pitches has a charmingly perverse appeal for me. But just as much, it is that the preparations transform the known into an otherworldly instrument, sounding at times like the imagined harmonics of stars or a percussion orchestra of machines.”
Miller can perform a 45 minute concert of prepared piano music, both his own compositions and some by John Cage. Miller can give lecture demonstrations on the topic.
This performance can be used in conjunction with another non-performing event such as Surrealist Night and Cartoon Night walk-in music, or as a concert portion of a Frottage Art show.
Venue Requirements: A grand piano is required, one that the owner is happy to have prepared. Miller has studied the prepared piano for years, and takes pains to make sure all preparations are applied and removed safely.
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Invitation from Land’s Edge (edit). Roger Clark Miller.
From the M2 LP: At Land’s Edge
Mechanismo, from concert. Roger Clark Miller