Alex Peh: Intermittent Attunement

by National Sawdust Staff

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Video Credits: Audio Engineer: Garth MacAleavey, Stagehand: Damien Moffitt, Lighting Designer: William Vasconez, Video Editors: Lauren Meeker and Alyson Hummer.

Last June, National Sawdust welcomed pianist Alex Peh into our space. Peh explores parallel piano worlds that unsettle boundaries of genre, tradition, and style. Peh collaborated with ethnographic videographers, Lauren Meeker, Alyson Hummer, and Madelyn Colonna to create a multi-modal experience revealing the process of intercultural collaboration, and the intimate bonds between musicians as they attune to one another to create new compositions.

This video of his National Sawdust performance features four new world premieres. Composer Anna Clyne's new work Red Nines, is a collection of nine short movements in hybrid styles, composed as part of a “game music” series. Red Nines borrows its title from a simple card game played in south-west London during the 1950s. Ne Myo Aung’s work, Padetha, which translates to “mixed” in Burmese, deconstructs genre within Burmese Sandaya piano traditions, mixing popular, classical and folk idioms to create a virtuosic piano piece. Greek composer-performer Nikos Ordoulidis’ "Piece of Minds", questions identity, culture and traditional practice. Sounds from Ordoulidis experience communicate with one another through which a (real) musical place is created. Pooyan Azadeh’s, Ba Yadash, pays homage to his teacher, the great Persian classical pianist, Javad Maroufi.

The evening also featured new solo and duo arrangements of work by Hafez Modirzadeh and Susie Ibarra, who performed with Peh on stage. Hafez Modirzadeh’s cycle of miniatures entitled “Facets” for re-tuned piano explores the work as a solo meditation. Susie Ibarra joined Peh in a duo performance of Talking Gong, a work originally for improvising piano trio, that explores the sonority of the Kulintang and piano in conversation. 

We hope you enjoy listening and watching Alex Peh’s performance at National Sawdust.

Members received exclusive early-access to this performance video in the October 2022 membership newsletter. Learn more about our membership benefits and how to become a member here.