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Elizabeth Baker and Jinghong Zhang meld know-how, dance, and theater for one-of-a-kind live performance in St. Pete | Present Previews | Tampa

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c/o Elizabeth A. Baker

Elizabeth A. Baker Baker began her profession targeted on turning into the very best piano participant she may very well be.

I met Jinghong Zhang and New Renaissance Artist The Honorable Elizabeth A. Baker the identical method they met one another—via Fb. “Now we have a mutual good friend, Grace Ma, and Grace was liking a whole lot of Jinghong’s posts,” Baker, who acquired a notification with every like, mentioned.

Scrolling via her Fb notifications, Baker questioned, “Who is that this individual doing very fascinating issues that really feel very shut in power to my very own observe? I’ve to ship this individual a good friend request.”

“So I assume we’re thanking the Fb algorithm on this,” Baker instructed me through Fb video chat.

Baker and Zhang are multimedia artists who occur to compose and carry out music, amongst different issues. Neither’s work is straightforward to elucidate or outline. They use know-how in methods different individuals do not, they usually incorporate theater or dance into their work, and so they play musical devices you have in all probability by no means heard of. And this month, they’re going to do that collectively, in a one-night-only multimedia live performance.

Tickets to see Elizabeth A. Baker and Jinghong Zhang’s “Visceral Dimension” present inside Hough Corridor at Palladium Theater In St. Petersburg on Wednesday, Jan. 25 are nonetheless accessible for $25.

We spoke with Baker and Zhang pre-concert to learn how they’re utilizing know-how to push the boundaries of recent music and what which means for audiences.

After I requested the 2 artists to elucidate how they use know-how to create new music, Baker chuckled and mentioned, “That is a protracted dialog.” Zhang dove proper in, describing musical innovation as if it have been a easy three step course of.

Step 1: Create new sounds and visuals utilizing conventional devices.

Zhang and Baker each started their careers composing new music on conventional devices—Zhang on stringed devices, and Baker on piano.
Centered on music as efficiency, Zhang composed scores that turned the act of enjoying a musical instrument right into a type of dance. He talked about a viola piece he wrote two years in the past, and added, “I had this part for performers to do a rhythmic, mechanical, modal movement on the violin to create a sort of martial arts gesture.”
Baker targeted on turning into the very best piano participant she may very well be.

“After I first began life in skilled music land, I used to be a live performance pianist,” she says. “My dad and mom could not afford to have a live performance grand Steinway in our home, so I practiced at The Palladium virtually each day for about 9 years. I’d come within the morning whereas everybody was doing their work, and I’d observe on the live performance grand in Hough Corridor the place we shall be performing.”

Step 2: Create new devices that assist you to create new tones.

You’ll be able to create new sounds utilizing devices that exist already—you simply mix the notes in a novel method. However new tones require a brand new instrument.

When Baker reached out, Zhang was working with a 32-string acoustic instrument referred to as a “Heaven and Earth.” Zhang created the instrument himself, impressed by historic Chinese language, South African, and Sixteenth-century European devices.

Past tone, Zhang additionally thought of learn how to play the instrument in a performative method. He needed one thing in between a keyboard and a conventional string instrument, so he may create sound by both plucking, bowing, or hammering the strings. In YouTube movies, the instrument seems to be virtually as tall as Zhang. He alternately plucks the strings as if he is enjoying a guitar or hammers them like he is enjoying a drum set.

Step 3: Add know-how.

For Zhang, know-how is a method of extending the sounds coming from his instrument. He does this by feeding the sounds from his instrument via a sound processing program on his laptop computer referred to as Max/MSP. “In order that the sound I play with my instrument onstage may be prolonged to every kind of wired, imaginative sounds,” he mentioned.

For Baker, know-how is the instrument. She’s traveled the world recording the whole lot from storm drains in Switzerland to the voices of poets. As soon as she’s collected the sounds, Baker processes them and maps them onto MIDI controllers. Think about a keyboard, however as a substitute of enjoying a conventional piano notice, every key or button performs one in all Baker’s pre-programmed sound recollections of her. With gesture controllers, Baker can set off her sounds with hand gestures or different actions, immediately linking music and motion. She additionally has MIDI controllers that set off lighting modifications.

With every step within the course of, Baker and Zhang add new layers of sound and inspiration. Need much more layers? Add extra artists. That is the argument for the kind of collaborative work Zhang and Baker deliver to The Palladium with “Viscera Dimension.”

The present combines Baker and Zhang’s skills with the work of 4 further artists—jazz pianist John C. O’Leary, III of La Lucha, Trendy Marimba founder Tidha Vongkoth, Florida-born poet and singer/songwriter Kristopher James, and Sarasota-based spoken phrase artist Melanie Lavender. Every has their very own fashion and technical method to music. And for essentially the most half, every of them will current their work individually. However Baker and Zhang promise some fascinating onstage collaborations as nicely.

“Tidha and Melanie are engaged on a bit that brings spoken phrase along with percussion efficiency,” says Baker, “so there are a whole lot of cross throughs.”

The best way Zhang and Baker describes it, “Viscera Dimension” combines parts of dance, theater, music, and storytelling in a method one hardly ever sees on St. Pete levels. It is so distinctive that Baker and Zhang struggled to provide you with a reputation for it. After tossing round phrases, they ultimately landed on “Viscera Dimension.”

Zhang’s created a guided improvisational rating “for every of us to comply with in order that we will all improvise collectively and create new sounds,” he instructed CL. “We’re attempting to merge totally different kinds and totally different musical languages ​​collectively within the present, and that is a really thrilling factor.”


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