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Monday 13 February 2017, 7.30pm

Photo by Chris Webb


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Contemporary pianist Xenia Pestova returns to Café Oto with meditative and transformative works for piano and toy piano. Music by North American experimental music giants Alvin Curran, Alvin Lucier and Gayle Young is placed in context with works by radical and non-conformist UK-based composers Ed Bennett and Egidija Medeksaite.

Pestova will chart a journey through Alvin Lucier’s rarely-programmed classic “Music for Piano with Slow Sweep Pure Wave Oscillators”, which explores tunings and resonant spaces in a shifting landscape where nothing is what it seems. Alvin Curran’s “Inner Cities” 2 and 3 for piano and toy piano inhabit and move through intimate sonic narratives. Ed Bennett’s “Out of Nowhere” movement requires the pianist to strum and pluck the inside of instrument like a harp in an immersive drone soundscape. The evening will also feature two world premiere performances: “As Trees Grow” by Canadian experimental composer Gayle Young, a deeply contemplative work exploring natural durations of text meditated upon by the performer, and an uncompromising new work by Egidija Medeksaite, which will push the little toy piano to its limits.

Please note that the performance will start at 9pm sharp.

Xenia Pestova Bennett

“an uncompromising artist” – Textura

“one of the leading performers of contemporary, non-conformist music” – HisVoice

Described as “a powerhouse of contemporary keyboard repertoire” (Tempo), “stunning” (Wales Arts Review), “ravishing” (Pizzicato) and “remarkably sensuous” (New Zealand Herald) in the international press, pianist Xenia Pestova Bennett's performances have earned her a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire alongside masterpieces from the past. Xenia’s commitment to promoting music by living composers inspired her to commission dozens of new works and collaborate with major innovators in contemporary music. Her widely acclaimed recordings of core piano duo works of the Twentieth Century by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen with Pascal Meyer are available on four CDs for Naxos Records. Her evocative solo debut of premiere recordings for the Innova label titled “Shadow Piano” was described as a “terrific album of dark, probing music” by the Chicago Reader. Xenia's own compositions are available on Diatribe Records and TakuRoku. Her full-length album "Atomic Legacies" features Ligeti Quartet and the Magnetic Resonator Piano. Highlighted in Bandcamp's "Best of Contemporary Classical" in 2020, the album was described as "boldly conceived and brilliantly realised... a foretaste of things to come" in The Wire (Julian Cowley), "intoxicating, extraordinarily eerie and evocative” (Bernard Clarke, RTE LyricFM), "melancholy... heart-swells and proper feelings” (Jennifer Lucy Allan, The Quietus) and "a nuclear musical reaction that produces that great, irradiated beauty" (Tom Service, BBC Radio 3). Xenia's subsequent digital EP "Atonal Electronic Chamber Music for Cats" takes an unexpected turn-around, using vintage synthesizers in an exploration of 1990's techno-art-pop nostalgia.

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