“Ight imma head out”
I used to compete in a couple annual piano solo competitions. Every year I would perform three pieces, each from a different time period. Although I still play piano, I never liked competing and stopped after I came to UNCSA.
I am not pursuing visual art after graduation. This project connects the art practice I’m abandoning now to the art I left behind two years ago. I chose three pieces from different time periods for an imaginary competition repertoire, and manipulated photographs and video to visually represent each piece.
Bach Prelude and Fugue WTC1 No. 9 in E Major, BWV 854
I played this piece in 2019, the last year I competed. Although I’m not a fan of baroque pieces in general, I wanted to try expressing the fugue’s interwoven melodic lines in visual form. The piece uses footage from the 1970s Canadian film “Atonement,” which documents efforts to preserve North American wildlife.
Debussy Prelude No. 8: La fille aux cheveux de lin
My teacher gave me this piece for fun in between competitions. When I pitched this project, it was the first piece I thought of. I’ve always pictured its simple melody as a cool, rippling pond, and wanted to create that visually. The piece’s title translates to “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” a classic symbol of innocence, or so I read on Wikipedia. Although I kept my personal impression of the piece in the first section with koi ponds, I incorporated its original theme by including carp streamers from the Japanese Children’s Festival, a celebration of children’s happiness. I used royalty-free photographs and clips from the BBC documentary series “Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands.” The end of the piece features a tradition specific to the Sabagawa River in Hofu City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, where at the end of the celebration, residents return carp streamers to the river where fish belong.
Rachmaninoff Elegie Op. 3 No. 1
Warning: this video contains bright, flashing lights and imagery that may cause discomfort and/or seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy.
I started learning this piece for competition before I transferred to UNCSA and quit lessons. I used a recording of Rachmaninoff himself for my interpretation, but I highly recommend Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s cello performance which, in my opinion, has much more raw emotion. Unlike the Debussy piece, this piece has more complex emotions, so I used an equally complicated piece of media: Neon Genesis Evangelion. I used clips from The End of Evangelion and Episode 4: Hedgehog’s Dilemma.