Kathleen Supové, Exploding Pianist

I’ve been a fan of Kathleen Supové since my college days in New York City. The very first time I saw her perform was at The Kitchen on April 17, 1998, in an evening celebrating American composer Frederic Rzewski’s 60th birthday. I remember her stepping out on stage in a see-through camo salopette with flaming red hair and an attitude of total ease and focus. It was sexy and terrifying. Her playing was, in a way, so unclassical to my then pretty traditional ears, so foreign it was exotic. I didn’t know quite what to make of it at the time, but I was hooked. I felt a sense of freedom, could almost hear walls of conventional wisdom around me crumble. I loved it. I loved everything about the evening, no less because Frederic Rzewski is also one of my favorite composers.

I met Kathy after a performance of “Kathleen Supové & The Electric Sheep” at the Flea Theatre in NYC on December 11, 2011. It was yet another one of her commissioning projects that transported you to a place you knew you wouldn't want to leave. That evening, I also met her husband, composer Randall Woolf, whose work Everything is Green (watch) we were performing for the first time (since then, NakedEye has performed much of his music and recorded Punching the Clock (watch), a commission made possible by a grant from New Music USA. Read the blog entry about Randy here), and from that point on, the three of us have cultivated a friendship that has been most rewarding and productive.

One of Kathy’s rare gifts is her ability to ignite the imagination, to “explode the mind” (read about the “Exploding Piano” odyssey that has been her career). The commissioned works for “NakedEye & Kathleen Supové” attest to that. Discoveries were made in exploring new paths and much fun was had in the process: we have an electro-acoustic ensemble mixing toy piano, melodica, piano, electric guitar, and an assemblage of hand percussion instruments creating a sound environment fit for a soundtrack to a Tim Burton movie in Richard Belcastro’s Inner Strife; an amplified bicycle playing in counterpoint with a toy piano and two grand pianos whose strings are manipulated with guitar picks in Rusty Banks’ Spoke(n); a rousing arrangement for two pianos and percussion of Randall Woolf’s Shakedown, originally written for chamber orchestra.

I’ve been wanting to bring Kathy's magic to Lancaster for some time. The time is now! Are you ready to be “exploded”?

Posted on April 2, 2016 .