Playing the piano can oftentimes be lonely.
Composer Byron Au Yong and visual artist Susie J. Lee gather pianists to share stories about their relationship with the piano. They also record audio and video portraits of 11 Houston-based pianists who play an original composition by Au Yong, which reveals sounds from every part of the piano (soundboard, tuning pins, pedals, strings, as well as keyboard).
The project is prompted by two questions:
1. Who gets to play a piano concerto?
2. What is a piano concerto for the 21st century?
Thinking about the concerto as a form for a soloist and ensemble, Au Yong and Lee consider each pianist an individual who contributes to the group in a civic process that expands participation.
Piano Concerto—Houston was commissioned by the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. The audio is part of an ongoing project called Piano Concerto—(name of city), an art installation of solo video portraits alongside a media sculpture that emphasizes the ensemble.