Duet for 3
I am very happy to release the video or Duet for 3, a piece for harp and dance that I commissioned last year to composer Ailie Robertson and choreographer Maude Zimmerli.
The piece was created out of a desire to put dance into my instrumental practice. Having done a lot of dance in the past, and missing having opportunities to do so again, I wanted to explore the relationship between musician and dancer on the stage, and how the musician can participate in the choreography by becoming a dancer as well.
Duet for 3 plays around the notion of musician and dancer, mixing the roles as if the two performers were just one big creature with many limbs, performing both roles at the same time. It also plays with the number of characters in the piece: how many are performing? There are two artists on stage, but we can count two dancers and one musician, and from time to time, the harp also becomes a dancer, so does that make it three, four, or even more performers?
The concept of moving while playing is fairly easy to understand, but to put it into practice is much harder and we were confronted with many different issues throughout the creative process. We decided to start by creating the choreography, working only with improvised music. Once the dancing side of the piece was set, I broke it up into sections for Ailie so she would know what to compose. This meant explaining which register I could play (according to a position, I could only reach the bottom or top strings), which pedals I could move, if any, which effects (harmonics) were possible, and so on. From then on began a true collaboration between the three of us, where each idea was tested and transformed to make it work. Sometimes we had to adjust the choreography to allow me to play a passage, other times we had to change the music to make it playable while doing a set movement.
Duet for 3 was premièred on the 2nd of June 2016, during my Final Recital at Trinity Laban. The video has been recorded in December 2016 at Laban, with Evie Oldham as dancer.