Department of Music

Extended performance practice

Professional performers active today are often required to incorporate extended techniques and new technologies into their repertoire. For example, pianists working in contemporary idioms may be required to play inside the instrument as well as on the keys and master additional keyboard instruments and interfaces.

This not only calls for expanding and building on existing motor skills, but also developing new skills, strategies and techniques for practice, rehearsal and performance.

Principal Investigator:

Dr Xenia Pestova

Xenia Pestova performing on the ROLI Seaboard, photo by Chris Webb Photography
Research overview 

My practice-led research at the University of Nottingham investigates and catalogues these skills. My approaches include investigating existing repertoire, commissioning new repertoire, collaborating with composers and technologists, engaging in improvised music making and documenting the outcomes through performance, recording, lecture presentations and written research publications

I am currently interested in the following areas:

  • Music for piano and extended techniques
  • Music for piano or other keyboards and electronics (live and/or fixed)
  • New music for portable keyboards: toy piano and Indian harmonium
  • Design and implementation of new keyboard interfaces
Current projects 

Fluxtrio – investigating extended piano techniques in improvised contexts (with Dr Lauren Sarah Hayes, Arizona State University and Dr Franziska Schroeder, Sonic Arts Research Centre / Queens University Belfast), funded by PRS for Music Foundation Women Make Music

“Out of Nowhere”: commissioning, performing and recording major new work for piano and electronics by Dr Ed Bennett (Birmingham Conservatoire), funded by PRS for Music Foundation Beyond Borders

New repertoire for the Seaboard with Dr Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, University of Huddersfield in collaboration with ROLI, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts

Improvisation on the Magnetic Resonator Piano (Queen Mary University, London)

Past projects 

"Urban Birds": commissioning and performing in a new work by Dr Arlene Sierra (Cardiff University) for two pianos, Yamaha Disklavier and electronics in collaboration with Yamaha UK, funded by PRS for Music Foundation New Music Biennial

McGill Digital Orchestra Project – collaborative development of new digital musical instruments, funded by Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture

Stockhausen’s Mantra: new digital version of analogue processing with assistance from Creative New Zealand and others

Performance with live electronics: dissertation, McGill University, funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

The piano and live electronics repertoire list

The 30-second project: commissions of new music for toy piano

Selected outputs 

Some Thoughts on the Toy Piano: a post on writing for toy piano

Arlene Sierra: "Urban Birds" for two pianos, Yamaha Disklavier and electronics, NMC Recordings

Shadow Piano: new music for piano, toy piano and electronics, Innova Recordings (solo CD)

John Cage: works for two prepared pianos and toy pianos – in John Cage: Works for Two Keyboards volumes 1, 2 and 3, Naxos Records (with Pascal Meyer, piano)

The Audible and the Physical: a Gestural Topology for 'Mixed' Electronic Music, EMS12, with Dr Andrew Lewis (Bangor University)

Models of interaction: performance strategies in works for piano and live electronics, Journal of Music, Technology and Education 2: 2+3, 113-126

Stockhausen: Mantra, Naxos Records (with Pascal Meyer, piano and Jan Panis, electronics)

Analogue to Digital: Authenticity Vs. Sustainability in Stockhausen's MANTRA (1970) (with Dr Mark Marshall, currently at Sheffield Hallam University and Dr Jacob Sudol, currently at Florida International University)

In Proceedings, International Computer Music Conference, Belfast. 201-204.





Department of Music

The University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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