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Don't Shoot the Player Piano: The Music of Conlon Nancarrow

Friday, November 2, 2012
7:00 p.m. Conlon Nancarrow: Virtuoso of the Player Piano
James R. Greeson (U.S., 2012)

In Person/Yoko Sugiura Nancarrow, Mako Nancarrow, Trimpin, Charles Amirkhanian


Who would have thought that the miraculous maestro of Mexico City, the infamous Conlon Nancarrow, was born and bred in Texarkana, Arkansas? Living in semi-obscurity for more than a half-century until his death in 1997, he was a composer of demanding, multirhythmic canons for player piano. James Greeson’s smoothly composed Conlon Nancarrow: Virtuoso of the Player Piano provides contrapuntal insights about an irascible composer who invented a virtuosic, heavily cadenced music that outdistanced the skills of flesh-and-blood musicians. Champion of the player piano, the only instrument robust enough to undertake his music, Conlon Nancarrow could roll with the punches.

We regret that filmmaker James R. Greeson is no longer able to join us in person for this screening.

—Steve Seid

• (56 mins, Color, Blu-Ray, From the artist)

Preceded by:
Studies on Nancarrow, #2 (Alban Wesly, Netherlands, 2008). The Dutch reed quintet Calefax creates visual puzzles that express the cadences of Nancarrow’s compositions. (3:07 mins, Color, Digital files, From the artist)

Followed by:
Studies on Nancarrow, #18 (Alban Wesly, Netherlands, 2008) (3:16 mins, Color, Digital files, From the artist)

Total running time: c. 62 mins

Join us in the BAM/PFA galleries before the screening for a conversation between artist Trimpin and Chief Curator Lucinda Barnes on the opening evening of Trimpin: Nancarrow Percussion Orchestra/MATRIX 244.

We recommend taking public transportation to this event. Parking will be in short supply due to a Friday night Cal football game at Memorial Stadium.