Arts & Events

Around & About Music: Conlon Nancarrow Centennial Events at UC this Weekend (Some Free!)_

By Ken Bullock
Friday November 02, 2012 - 07:33:00 AM

Conlon Nancarrow, that unique American composer, best-known for his dense, complex compositions on piano rolls for player piano that date from the late 1940s to his death in the late 90s, will be celebrated in style this weekend at events within a two-block radius at the University of California. 

Other Minds, Cal Performances & the Pacific Film Archive (PFA) have teamed up for this exciting venture, which will feature live performances, films & panel discussions with Nancarrow's widow & son, his biographer & music publisher, musicians from all over, as well as Charles Amirkhanian, Other Minds founder, who played Nancarrow's music on KPFA-fm & made pioneer recordings for Berkeley's 1750 Arch label during the 70s.  

Friday, 5:30: Free --Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way near College Avenue: MATRIX exhibit of Trimpin's 'Nancarrow Percussion Exhibit' & a conversation with Trimpin. 

7 p. m.: PFA $5.50-$9.50--James Greeson's new film, 'Conlon Nancarrow: Virtuoso Player Piano' & short films by Alban Wesly of Nancarrow works. 

Saturday 11 a. m.: Free--Hertz Hall (UC campus) Panel discussion, including performances of Nancarrow's Piano Studies nos. 12 & 25. 

2 p. m.: Hertz Hall $20--Performances by Trimpin, Rex Lawlor (on mechanical piano) Studies nos 5, 6, 11, 26, 37--& 41c, for two pianos, plus music by Rachmaninoff & the pianola music from Jean Gremillon's lost documentary film on fishing boats, 'Un tour au large' (1926) 

8 p. m.: Hertz Hall $30--Calder Quartet playing music by Thomas Ades, Nancarrow's String Quartets nos. 1 & 3, Paul Usher's arrangement of NC's Study no. 33 & Bartok's (a seminal influence on NC) String Quartet no. 5. 

Sunday, Noon: Free--Hertz Hall "Eyeballs Out!"--panel with musicians on playing Nancarrow, including performances of Piece for Tape, Study no. 32 & others. 

4 p. m.: PFA $5:50-$9:50--'Nancarrow: Music For 1000 Fingers,' (Hanne Kaisile/Uli Anmuller), including footage of Nancarrow explaining his methods & techniques. Short films of Nancarrow pieces by Alban Wesly, Tal Rosner & Sophie Clement. 

7 p. m.: Hertz Hall $20--Performances by Rex Lawson & violinist Graeme Jennings, percussionist Froh Jennings, piano duo Helena Bugallo & Amy Williams : Piece for Tape, Toccata for Piano & Violin, piano duets of transcriptions of NC pianola music for piano duo, NC piano rolls of 'Rite of Spring.'. 

Info: (& see Joshua Kosman's excellent preview on