Dan Tepfer: Natural Machines

LONDON Kings Place (Hall One)
90 York Way
N1 9AG


In an exceptional melding of man and machine, Dan Tepfer uses the Yamaha Disklavier piano to bring together his world-class pianism with his background in physics and programming. As he improvises, the piano responds in real time with notes of its own, the keys of the keyboard depressing themselves as if by magic, guided by algorithms that he has programmed into his computer. 

Different pieces arise not from different choices of notes, but from different processes which naturally leave their own distinct sonic signature on the music. As the music is being created, another set of custom-made coding turns the data into animated visual art, creating a mesmerizing visual universe that reveals the underlying musical structure. 

"I think of the best music as a delicate combination of the spiritual and the algorithmic",
says Tepfer. “If you look at Bach’s music, a lifelong inspiration for me, it's at once heavily rule-based and guided by raw emotional truth”. 

With this project, the computer takes care of the algorithmic side, leaving the Paris-born, Brooklyn-based pianist-composer all the more free to focus on the human element. Although the only sound we hear is the sound of an acoustic concert-grand piano, "it's like playing a fundamentally new instrument", says Tepfer, whose previous solo exploration, Goldberg Variations / Variations, has received wide international acclaim.

A wide-open sensibility, about as tuned in to Bach and Björk as to Monk and Shorter

(NY Times)