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Inside-out piano comes to York

Posted on 25 February 2016

Pianist, inventor and performer Sarah Nicolls will play her unique ‘Inside-Out Piano’ at the University of York this weekend.

Sarah Nicolls and the Inside-Out Piano (credit: Suzy Harrison)Sarah Nicolls and the Inside-Out Piano (credit: Suzy Harrison)

Restructured to be played on the inside by plucking strings, the vertical grand piano stands at 2.5 metres tall and is held on a frame that allows it to swing. Her performance, Moments of Weightlessness, was created in response to the piano’s unusual design.

In the solo show, Sarah Nicolls explores the characteristics of the instrument, moving it around the stage to represent the metaphorical parallels to having children. Coaxing out the piano’s hidden sounds, she will push, ratchet and swing the piano, using music and text to explore motherhood, childbirth and creativity.

Taking place at 7pm on Saturday 27 February in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, there will be an opportunity to talk to Sarah Nicolls after the performance and have a go on the piano.

On Sunday 28 February at 11am, she will host an informal family workshop in the same venue. Children of all ages are welcome to have the chance to play the instrument.

Sarah Nicolls said: “The Inside-Out Piano is an ongoing project which I began in 2008. The aim was to see if we could build a piano for the future which enables pianists to play ‘inside piano’ more easily – strumming strings, plucking, knocking, ‘preparing’ the strings with nuts and bolts – whilst allowing the audience to see this extra dimension without having to strain to catch a reflection on the grand piano lid. My idea was simple: change the shape of the piano!”

“I was able to commission Pierre Malbos to convert an old French Erard – he turned the strings 90 degrees to make the most majestic and monolithic piano I’ve ever seen. I felt immediately it needed to be the centre of a theatre show and so Moments of Weightlessness was born. I’m delighted to bring the show to a new audience in York.”

Further information:

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