Heather O'Donnell


Inouk Demers (Canada)
Chambre, vue for piano/electronics and video
with video artist Luisa Greenfield (U.S.A)
Shintaro Imai (Japan)
Figure in Movement II for piano and real-time
audio/visual processing technique
Oliver Schneller (Germany)

Track & Field
audio-visual composition for piano,
4 loudspeakers, accessories, and video projection
Kotoka Suzuki (Japan/Canada)

Piano con moto for piano/electronics
and video with video artist Claudia Rohrmoser (Austria)
in collaboration with Rainer Kohlberger and Gerhard Daurer

Heather O'Donnell
(U.S.A.), pianist & artistic director



I. Idea

« There will be a day when a composer will compose music with a notation that will be conceived in terms of music and light… and that day, the artistic unity we were talking about will probably be closer to perfection… »

Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné, 1925



The « Piano optophonique » project revisits a topic that captivated a generation of artists during the 1910's and 1920's: namely the possibility of synthesizing two divergent media into one artistic expression, creating a work that went beyond the boundaries and limitations of the two individual media. This attempt was approached with great enthusiasm and an ardent belief in artistic progressivity, developing possibilities for a new transcendent art form capable of surpassing the respective expressive potentials of its individual components.

Specially designed pianos (or organs) were constructed by artists like Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné, Alexander Scriabin, Zdenek Pesanek and Erwin Schulhoff in an attempt to navigate between musical and visual realms. Scriabin imagined using a «Tastiera per Luce» (color piano) for the performance of his «Promethée »; Baranoff-Rossinés « piano optophonique », projected light through painted and rotating glass plates, whose colors and rhythms closely complemented the music. With their « Spectrophon-Piano », Zdenek Pesanek and Erwin Schulhoff attempted to create an audio-visual sculpture - an idea that has been revisited many times by more contemporary artists like Christian Marclay in his « Video Quartet » (2002) and Pierre Huyghe's « Light Box » (2002).

Inspired by this context, four young composers with a strong interest in incorporating visual elements into their work will write a piano piece involving a temporal-visual dimension. Two composers will work with visual artists (a video-artist and a filmmaker), the other two will use live-electronics (music and video processing techniques) to create a visual « response » to their musical compositions. The outcome results in varying degrees of synthesis/synchronicity between two media- ranging from a work where both elements retain a high degree of independence, to a work in which the two media are integrated and indistinguishable partners, also including works where one medium acts as a « parent medium », designing the other medium in real time through its own defining characteristics.



II. Project Description


Inouk Demers/ Luisa Greenfield
Chambre, vue (2005/06 rev. 2008) for piano/electronics and video




"This is the investigation, detailed yet illusive, of a room. It is also a presentation whose subject and object are anonymous. The sounds form a surface, pointing to something just underneath, barely sensed. Visual images intertwined through the music suggest a fleeting presence, or perhaps absence, of the inhabitant - our pianist."
(Inouk Demers)


excerpts from
Chambre, Vue

4 microphones
4 loudspeakers
Mac G5 computer





Shintaro Imai
Figure in Movement II (2006) for piano and real-time audio/visual processing technique

Shintaro Imai's Figure in Movement II

"This piece was composed for piano and real-time audio/visual processing technique. During the piece, the motion of the performer's hands will be captured by a digital video camera and sent to the computer. The video signal will be processed in real-time in various ways (programmed with Max/MSP/Jitter software), then projected to a screen. Additionally, elements from the piano and piano-based live-electronic sounds (such as spectrum, amplitude, attack etc.) will be sampeled and then applied to the visual image processing parameters. Thus, two very different components of piano performance, namely the physical and gestural movement of the hands on the keyboard, and the resulting sounds of the piano, are "modulated" by one another on the screen.
This piece was realized at the Sonology Department of Kunitachi College of Music in Japan and at the Electronic Music Studio of TU Berlin, supported by DAAD Berlin."
(Shintaro Imai)





2 microphones
1 beamer
1 screen
2 Mac G5
1 digital video camera
5.1-channel loudspeaker system





Oliver Schneller
Track & Field (2006)
audio-visual composition for piano, 4 loudspeakers, accessories, and video projection


"In this world, there are two times. There is mechanical time and there is body time. The first is as rigid and metallic as a massive pendulum of iron that swings back and forth. The second squirms and wriggles like a bluefish in a bay. The first is unyielding, predetermined. The second makes up its mind as it goes along. […] This is a stretch of nerve fibers: seemingly continuous from a distance but disjointed close up, with microscopic gaps between fibers. Nervous action flows through one segment of time, abruptly stops, pauses, leaps through vacuum, and resumes in the neighboring segment. […] So tiny are the disconnections in time that the gaps between segments are practically imperceptible. After each restart of time, the new world looks just like the old."
- Alan Lightman, EINSTEIN'S DREAMS (1993)






Kotoka Suzuki/Claudia Rohrmoser/Rainer Kohlberger/Gerhard Daurer
Piano con moto (2006) for piano and video


Japanese/Canadian composer Kotoka Suzuki has worked intensively with Austrian video artist Claudia Rohrmoser since 2002. Their projects are distinguished by an almost organic integration of the two media, the result of very close collaborative planning at every stage of their creative work. Their new piece will explore conflicting states: reality/dream, emptiness/fullness, and control/freedom. Using the software MaxMSP/Jitter as the visual controlling device, the visual components will be influenced by the sound parameters produced by the piano (amplitude, pitch/color, speed/rhythm, texture, etc.). This information will be transmitted through a microphone, recorded and processed in real-time, then calculated and applied to various visual parameters (hue, color, speed/rhythm, saturation, brightness etc.).

The visual components will be influenced by both the performer's conscious and unconscious decisions. Within a given set of restrictions set by the composer, the pianist will be given the flexibility to react both musically and visually to the images she sees during the performance: possible combinations of sounds with the corresponding visual manipulations will be indicated in the score, hence giving the performer the freedom to decide which element(s) to trigger and when. At the same time, the outcome of the sounds chosen by the pianist in one section will be mapped and calculated entirely by the computer to determine the structure of the visual material in later sections. A unique multi-tiered complex of five hanging screens will surround the pianist, creating the effect of spatial integration between the performing musician and video element.

Support was generously provided by DAAD Berlin and the Künstlerinnenprogramm Berlin

Music      Kotoka Suzuki
Video and animation      Claudia Rohrmoser
Real-time graphics      Rainer Kohlberger
Audio and video processing      Gerhard Daurer



3 Microphones
1 or 2 Beamers
1 or 2 Mac G5
1 digital camera (monitor for the pianist)

from « Piano con moto », Rohrmoser/Suzuki






Contemptronics, Hamburg
Klangwerktage Festival
25 November 2008

Sinus Ton Festival, Magdeburg
18 October 2008

World Premiere:

Ultraschall Festival (Deutschland Radio), Berlin
25/26 January 2007


major funding provided by   

with additional funds from     

Studio für Elektronische Musik an der TU Berlin, Berliner Künstlerinnenprogramm







Heather O'Donnell

tel: ++49(0)30 243 77044
email: h_odonnell at yahoo dot com









Inouk Demers is a Canadian composer and guitarist currently living in Los Angeles. His works have been played throughout Europe and North America; broadcast on Canadian and European radio; honoured at festivals (Ars Musica, Cervantino Festival, June in Buffalo, Domaine Forget, Darmstadt, Voix Nouvelles, Schloss Solitude); and recorded (Ummus/Amberola and Atma labels). Awards include first prize and the Serge Garant prize at Forum 96 (hosted by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne), several SOCAN prizes, and the Robert Fleming prize (1998) from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Recent events: In 2002 Charles Dutoit selects Chaque Note for performance by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. In 2004, publication of a contribution to the Transonic Forum in die Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, and performance of Djenoun by Peter Veale and Jürgen Ruck at the Darmstadt Festival (Germany). In 2005, premiere of Universal Field, commissioned by the San Diego Symphony (USA), and of Contemporary Canadian Art by Toca Voca (Canada) The recording of Lo que vendra by the NEM on ATMA receives the Opus Award for best contemporary music recording of the year. Upcoming commissions with Heather O'Donnell (Germany) and Andrew Infanti (France).

His works have been played by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, Continuum Ensemble, Instant Donné (France), Cygnus Ensemble (USA), SurPlus Ensemble, 175 East, Toca Loca, Julie-Anne Derome, Louise Marcotte, Jürgen Ruck, Peter Veale, and the San Diego, Princeton, and Montreal Symphonies.

He has studied privately with Louis Andriessen, Paul Lanksy, and Roger Reynolds; in master classes with Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan Harvey, Helmut Lachenmann, Richard Barrett, Steve Takasugi, and Chaya Czernowin.



Luisa Greenfield is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited in the US and Europe. She received a BFA in painting and drawing from Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and an MFA in video and film from the American University Italy program.

Recently her collaborative work with composers has focused on elements in video/sound that alternate between prioritizing sound over image and image over sound. She is currently interested analyzing the language of documentary filmmaking in her work by looking at open public spaces and ideas of waiting and anticipation.

Ms. Greenfield has received numerous grants and awards including a Mellon Foundation Grant in 2006 and a Fulbright Grant in 2008/09 to produce a video art piece on Kleingärten in Berlin. This year she has participated in artist residencies at the Banff Centre in Canada and the Headlands Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

She currently resides in Berlin, Germany.

My video and film work is born out of drawing and painting. I like slow images and what they can reveal about spaces previously occupied by people. I inhabit those spaces and record both the lingering resonances and the anticipation that exist there. There is an unconscious choreography to the way people move when they think no one is looking that leaves traces. The Lost Steps (2008) is a video that moves from diagrams dissecting various parts of the piano, to a nonlinear narrative interpretation where the images of a painting, a path, a film are interspersed with exterior movements and interior, museum-like stasis. Treating the images both as archival documents and as part of a fictional narrative results in a blurring of the two.
                                 Luisa Greenfield


Shintaro Imai (1974) was born in Nagano, Japan. He studied composition and computer music with Takayuki Rai, Erik Oña and Cort Lippe at the Sonology Department of Kunitachi College of Music. After completing his post graduate study in Tokyo, he was invited to attend the Course of Composition and Computer Music at IRCAM (Paris) where he studied composition with Philippe Hurel. Between 2002 and 2003 he was the recipient of a grant from the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, and worked as a guest composer at ZKM Institute for Music and Acoustics in Karlsruhe, Germany. In 2004, he was artist-in-residence at the DAAD Berlin, and worked as a guest composer at the Electronic Music Studio TU Berlin.

As well as composing purely instrumental pieces, he has developed a real-time algorithmic sound-generating system by means of extended granular sampling techniques, which he called "Sound Creature". His music is related to the organization of microscopic movements of noise inherent in any given natural sound.

He was awarded a "Residence Prize" at the 26th International Electroacoustic Music Competition Bourges in 1999, and invited to be composer-in-residence at the Swiss Center for Computer Music in Zurich in December 2000. His awards include the First Prize and "Special Prize for Young Composer" at MUSICA NOVA 2000 International Electroacoustic Music Competition in the Czech Republic, and "EARPLAY Composers Prize" at EARPLAY 2001 Composers Competition in USA. His works have also been selected and performed at numerous international festivals and conferences including International Computer Music Conference 1999 in Beijing and ISCM World Music Days 2002 in Hong-Kong.



Rainer Kohlberger was born 1982 in Linz, Austria. Currently he is finishing his MultiMediaArt-studies in Salzburg. He focuses on the collaborative implementation of interactive video works, installations, films and web projects.



American pianist Heather O'Donnell has been described as "a thoroughly excellent pianist that captivates with a strong charisma, differentiated touch cultivation, and rapturous musicality." (Neues Deutschland). The Village Voice wrote: "American expatriate pianist Heather O'Donnell gave as fiery a performance of Ives's Concord Sonata as I've ever heard." She has performed extensively throughout America and Europe with recent festival appearances at MaerzMusik Berlin, Festival Agora Paris, the Alternativa Festival Moscow, AmerKlavier Festival Chicago, Peterhof Festival St. Petersburg, Indaba Festival South Africa, the Chopin Festival New York, Eclat Festival Stuttgart, and Tanglewood Festival. She has given solo recitals in such diverse cities as Amman, Krakow, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Moscow, New York, and Berlin, and appeared as a soloist with the St. Petersburg State Symphony, the Romanian State Philharmonic in Ploiesti, the DalSegno Chamber Orchestra, and the Harvard Orchestra.

With a strong commitment to and admiration for contemporary music, Heather O'Donnell has collaborated with many composers, giving premieres of music by Luciano Berio, Walter Zimmermann, John Adams, Bernhard Lang, and James Tenney. She is the dedicatee of works by Michael Finnissy, Frederic Rzewski, Oliver Schneller, George Flynn, and Sidney Corbett, that she also premiered. She has been featured on Deutschland Radio, Radio France, and Deutsche Welle Television and given lectures and masterclasses at Columbia University and Mannes College of Music (New York), DePaul University (Chicago), New England Conservatory (Boston), and Rhodes University (South Africa). Heather O'Donnell was the first prize winner and the recipient of the Gaudeamus prize in the Fifth Krzysztof Penderecki International Competition in Krakow, Poland. CD projects for 2005 include new recordings on Mode Records and Wergo.

Heather O'Donnell was born in New York and began piano lessons at the age of five. Her most influential teachers were Stephen Drury and Peter Serkin. She also worked closely with Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, Emanuel Ax, and Pierre-Laurent Aimard. O'Donnell took several courses in Philosophy and Literature at the New School for Social Research and Columbia University, and was the teaching assistant of philosopher Paul Edwards at the New School.



Claudia Rohrmoser was born in 1977 in Salzburg, Austria. She studied Multimedia Arts at FH Salzburg and Experimental Media Design at University of Arts Berlin. Rohrmoser lives and works as motion graphics designer and postproduction operator in Berlin; she teaches experimental animation and motion analysis at FH Salzburg. She works on documentaries, animation shorts and artistic projects in collaboration several artists, with concentration on the Visualisation of Music. Member of VJ collective Renegadez. Rohrmoser received the 30th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music and Sonic Art Competition Prize-Multimedia, together with the Composer Kotoka Suzuki (2003, France). Her latest project is a documentary about Indigenes in Brazil.



Born in Cologne, Oliver Schneller (1966) studied history, political science, and musicology at the University of Bonn. From 1990-91 he worked for the Goethe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal on a project to support and sustain indigenous music culture. In 1994 he moved to the USA, first studying composition at the New England Conservatory in Boston, then at Columbia University New York where he received his doctoral degree in 2002 as a student of Tristan Murail. At the City University of New York, he developed and expanded the CUNY Computer Music Studio. From 2000-01 he lived in Paris as a participant of the cursus annuel de composition et d'informatique at IRCAM/Centre Pompidou.

Oliver Schneller was recently awarded a fellowship at the Deutsche Akademie Villa Massimo in Rome for 2006-07. His music has been performed at international festivals including Festival Agora Paris, Musica Strasbourg, Maerzmusik Berlin, Tremplins Paris, Wintermusic Berlin, Alternativa Moscow, the International Computer Music Conferences(ICMC) in Singapore and Göteborg, Indaba South Africa, Tanglewood Music Festival, as well as at the "Frankfurt 2000" concerts of the Ensemble Modern and the "Millenium Stage Series" at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

Also active as a saxophonist, Schneller played with ensembles such as the George Russell Big Band, the Gustav Mahler Youth Symphony under Seiji Ozawa, and with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra as a soloist in Tan Dun's Red Forcast. He's also worked with various jazz and improvisation ensembles in Cologne, Amsterdam, Boston and New York.

Oliver Schneller currently lives in Berlin where he teaches a seminar on "Acoustics and Psychoacoustics for Composers" at the University of the Arts (UdK). In 2004 he was the artistic director of the "Tracing Migrations" Festival, featuring the works of contemporary composers from Arab countries, as well as a project on Eastern and Western concepts of beauty involving composers Toshio Hosokawa and Helmut Lachenmann at Berlin's House of World Cultures. Future projects include a work for orchestra and electronics commissioned by the SWR and a new piece for the Ictus ensemble.



Kotoka Suzuki, was born in Japan and raised in Canada. She is a composer focusing on both multimedia and instrumental practices. She received a B.M. degree in composition from Indiana University (1994) and a D.M.A. degree in composition at Stanford University (1999), where she studied with Jonathan Harvey.

Her works have been featured internationally by performers such as Arditti String Quartet, Continuum, Ensemble Moderne (NEM), and Earplay Ensemble, at numerous festivals such as Tribune Canadienne MusMix , Bourges International Electroacoustic Music and Sonic Art Festival (France), Made In Canada Festival of Canadian Music, Inventionen (Germany), Music at the Anthology (US), Ultraschall (Germany), Computer Music Days at SCM (Hong Kong), International Computer Music Conference (Cuba/Singapore), Pan Music Festival (Korea), and Pacific Music Festival (US).

Among the awards she received include 30th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music and Sonic Art Competition Prize-Multimedia (France), DAAD Artist in Resident Berlin (Germany), Robert Flemming Prize from Canada Council for the Arts, Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition Honor Prize (Czech), and Gerald Oshita Fellowship Award from Djerassi Resident Artists Program. She has also received commissions from sources such as Sender Freies Berlin Radio (Germany), NEM, Continuum, DAAD, Music at the Anthology, and Technical University of Berlin Electronic Studio (Germany).

She is increasingly engaged in collaborative multimedia production works, where performance space is taken beyond a regular concert setting. Currently, she is producing her second collaborative work with Claudia Rohrmoser (DAAD and Technical University of Berlin commission) for interactive video and sound installation, in which participants can manipulate both sound and images in a three dimensional environment. She is an Assistant Professor of Composition at University of Chicago.