Connection Piano

hardware:   Dell Dimension XPS/Linux, Dell Latitude CPi laptop/Linux
software:   RTcmix, Mix

Naotoshi Osaka called me out of the blue and asked if I would be willing to compose a piece for the 10th anniversary celebration of the NTT Research Laboratories in Tokyo, Japan. Perry Cook and I had visited the NTT labs a few times before, and Naotoshi (more properly Osaka-san, I know...) was wonderful host.

During one of our visits, Naotoshi invited Perry, Akira Takaoka and myself to his family's house for dinner. It was an exceptional evening, and afterwards Naotoshi's son played an amazing Chopin etude for us at the piano.

I wrote this piece thinking that Naotoshi's son could perform it, but it was not appropriate for his son to participate in the celebration concert, for Naotoshi was the main event organizer. A student at one of the better piano conservatories performed it instead, very very well! Because the piano part is intended for a student, it's not all that difficult to play (I think).

Because NTT is obviously involved in communications, during part of the performance I opened a network connection from my laptop in Kobe Hall to our main CMC server. The digitized audio was sent to be processed and then returned for later playback in the piece. This operation is not too stunning today, but using a specially set up ISDN line for real-time high quality audio was pushing the technology a little back then. It worked! Yay! I wasn't totally embarrassed!

The music was initially much shorter (only about 8 minutes long), but Naotoshi said "oh make it a longer piece!", so I did. The sound sources were recorded around New York and my home in Roosevelt (many make appearances in other pieces). I also liked the idea of 'connecting' Tokyo and New York sonically. Oooooooo.

Hey, I found this that I had written in a document discussing some of my work. The "similar issues" are "issues of [the] social function [of music]":