Monday 5 March 2018, 7.30pm

Photo by Damian Wojcik

Magnetic String Resonance: Xenia Pestova plays Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros and more on the Magnetic Resonator Piano

No Longer Available

What if you could play a note on the piano, and have it last forever? Contemporary pianist Xenia Pestova returns to Cafe Oto with uncompromising renditions of radical repertoire in the only London performance with the Magnetic Resonator Piano (MRP), a new instrument designed by Andrew McPherson. Oto's resident piano will be completely transformed by electromagnets suspended above the strings, allowing control of minute details of resonance, crescendo from silence and sustained "bowed" sounds that the pianist will shape from the keyboard.

The performance will include Alvin Lucier’s rarely-programmed classic “Music for Piano with Magnetic Strings” (originally with eBows) and Pauline Oliveros' pioneering text score "Breaking Boundaries" as well as world premieres of "Glowing Radioactive Elements" by Pestova and "Magnetic Resonance" for MRP and electronics by UK-based New Zealand composer John Young.

Xenia Pestova Bennett

“an uncompromising artist” – Textura

“one of the leading performers of contemporary, non-conformist music” – HisVoice

Described as “a powerhouse of contemporary keyboard repertoire” (Tempo), “stunning” (Wales Arts Review), “ravishing” (Pizzicato) and “remarkably sensuous” (New Zealand Herald) in the international press, pianist Xenia Pestova Bennett's performances have earned her a reputation as a leading interpreter of uncompromising repertoire alongside masterpieces from the past. Xenia’s commitment to promoting music by living composers inspired her to commission dozens of new works and collaborate with major innovators in contemporary music. Her widely acclaimed recordings of core piano duo works of the Twentieth Century by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen with Pascal Meyer are available on four CDs for Naxos Records. Her evocative solo debut of premiere recordings for the Innova label titled “Shadow Piano” was described as a “terrific album of dark, probing music” by the Chicago Reader. Xenia's own compositions are available on Diatribe Records and TakuRoku. Her full-length album "Atomic Legacies" features Ligeti Quartet and the Magnetic Resonator Piano. Highlighted in Bandcamp's "Best of Contemporary Classical" in 2020, the album was described as "boldly conceived and brilliantly realised... a foretaste of things to come" in The Wire (Julian Cowley), "intoxicating, extraordinarily eerie and evocative” (Bernard Clarke, RTE LyricFM), "melancholy... heart-swells and proper feelings” (Jennifer Lucy Allan, The Quietus) and "a nuclear musical reaction that produces that great, irradiated beauty" (Tom Service, BBC Radio 3). Xenia's subsequent digital EP "Atonal Electronic Chamber Music for Cats" takes an unexpected turn-around, using vintage synthesizers in an exploration of 1990's techno-art-pop nostalgia.

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