Gamelan Klavier

For prepared piano and gamelan degung

Commissioned and premiered by Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan with Stephen Clarke performing on prepared piano.

1st performance: Open Ears Festival, Kitchener, Ontario, 2009

Since John Cage's earliest experiments with prepared piano (circa 1939), if he or anyone else familiar with the instrument were asked to describe the sound of a prepared piano, they would always compare it to the sound of a gamelan. However, in spite of the sonic similarities and comparisons between the two, these instruments had never been combined in an ensemble until 1987, when the Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan (ECCG) commissioned James Tenney to compose the first composition for prepared piano and gamelan. The premiere of this work took place in Toronto in the spring of 1987, with Gordon Monahan performing the prepared piano part. A few years later, a second prepared piano and gamelan piece was composed by Andrew Timar, one of the founding and current members of the ECCG. In 2008, the ECCG commissioned Gordon Monahan to compose a new piece for prepared piano and gamelan, and the result is this 16 minute work, which explores and combines the uncanny sonic similarities of the instruments.

©Gordon Monahan 2009

home