Presented by Top Shelf & The Windish Agency
Hauschka is a composer, songwriter and experimental musician who has brought an exciting new perspective to the prepared piano.
The prepared piano – a technique for getting new sounds from the acoustic keyboard by resting pieces of paper or drumsticks on the strings of the instrument – has been used for centuries, but Hauschka was unaware of the tradition when, at the dawn of the new millennium, he began exploring ways to get new sounds out of his Bechstein grand upright. “I wanted the sound of a hi-hat (cymbal) to add a percussive effect to a composition I was writing. I took foil from a Christmas cake and wrapped it around the strings [inside the piano]. From there, I was inspired to use other objects on the strings to get bass drum sounds, or tacks on the piano hammers to get the sound of a harpsichord. When I was playing techno music, I had samplers where you could get a different sound on every key. I thought it would be great to have that effect on an acoustic piano. I was not aware of John Cage (one of the first 20th century composers to use prepared piano) when I started searching for ways to alter the sound of the keyboard, but as I got more into prepared piano, I was influenced by Cage’s theories.”
Ever prolific, over the last decade HAUSCHKA has continued to work on solo albums, collaborations with the likes of Samuli Kosminen (from Iceland’s Múm), Calexico’s Joey Burns & John Convertino, as well as numerous other projects in the fields of film, theatre, dance, and film soundtracks. He has also toured the world playing some of the great concert halls and festivals; The Barbican, Decibel Festival, Constella, Elita and the P Festival in Taipei to name a few.
The combination of HAUSCHKA’s classicist training, chamber music sensibilities and pop-cultural interests ensures that the often playful – but never disposable – results are far more than an academic exercise in experimentalism.