Megumi Masaki soaks Isabel Bader Performing Arts Centre in music

Inaugural concert is a powerful musical and multimedia performance

One of Masaki’s thought-provoking multimedia videos.
Image by: Arwin Chan
One of Masaki’s thought-provoking multimedia videos.

As the inaugural concert of the Isabel Bader Centre for Performing Arts, Music 4 Eyes and Ears set the bar high in terms of creativity and innovation.

Put together by New Music Kingston concert series, this first of seven planned performances provided a dazzling opening on Friday for a new season of music.

Using a mixture of piano as well as video and electronics, Music 4 Eyes and Ears successfully managed to explore the harmonic relationship between art and sound.

The opening — a premiere of the short film “Ocean View” by filmmaker Gary Kibbins − set the tone for the rest of the concert.

While utilizing a recitation of excerpts from Sigmund Freud’s famed book Civilization and its Discontents, the film alternated between images of a calming ocean view and scenes of seemingly apathetic people at parties and in labs. The piece proved to be a fascinating attempt to join unlike images with a soundtrack made of discordant harmonies.

“Touch” was the first piece performed by Megumi Masaki. Incorporating electronic sounds from a computer that harmonized beautifully with piano melody, the piece contained many moments of intense sound.

Masaki used her hands to simulate her playing while the music came from the computer. This provided a unique element that helped the audience visualize the sound and the way the melody moved.

The next video, entitled “Orpheus Drone” − a lament about the Greek oracle and musician Orpheus − was accompanied by an oral recount of the Latin version of Ovid’s description of the death of Orpheus, performed by Masaki. The black and white video and images blended together seamlessly, allowing viewers to see how art and sound can be combined into something that is moving on a deeper level.

Although “Outer Drive” was originally intended to be interactive − where changes in the piano key would trigger changes in the video – it was the non-interactive version that was performed in concert. The video featured images of streetscapes from Windsor, Ont. and Dearborn, Michigan.

Aesthetically, the images used on film captured feelings of desolateness, but when combined with the resonance of the piano, the sounds created a sense of space that seemed to go on forever.

The final piece of the concert, the “Kubrick Etudes”, was a combination of eight etudes inspired by A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and the Space Odyssey created by famous director Stanley Kubrick.

The piece is a dialogue between the piano and the video that is meant to highlight the relationship between machinery, technology and the human struggle.


Inaugural concert, Isabel Bader, Megumi Masaki

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