Making/Breaking the Binary
Ars Nova Workshop, Making/Breaking the Binary, International House Philadelphia, and The University of Pennsylvania Department of Music are thrilled to present the first of two solo performances, one electronic and one acoustic, by the hugely influential pianist, composer and electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani.
Known as the “Diva of the Diode,” Suzanne Ciani is a composer, five-time Grammy-nominated recording artist, and pioneer in the field of electronic music and sound design. She is best loved for her fifteen albums of original music which feature her performances in a broad array of expressions: pure electronic, solo piano, piano with orchestra, and piano with jazz ensemble. Her music, renowned for its romantic, healing, and aesthetic qualities, has found a rapidly growing international audience, and her performances include numerous benefits for humanitarian causes.
Classically trained at the Longy School of Music and Wellesley College, Ciani met legendary synth designer Don Buchla while earning her master’s degree in music composition at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1970, she collaborated with renowned artist Harold Paris on her debut album, Voices of Packaged Souls. Upon her arrival in New York she became a leading light of the electronic music scene, giving lessons to Philip Glass and Patrick Moraz and exploring the unique capabilities of the instrument.
In the eighties and early nineties, in order to finance her recording projects, Ciani brought her expertise to Madison Avenue, where she created music and sound effects for television commercials and video games. Her New York-based commercial production company, Ciani-Musica, Inc., was the leader in the field of sound design and TV spot scoring, creating award-winning music for a host of high profile Fortune 500 clients, including Coca-Cola, Merrill Lynch, AT&T and General Electric. Additionally, Ciani scored the Lily Tomlin film The Incredible Shrinking Woman, composed music for the daytime TV serial One Life to Live, and provided sound effects for disco producer Meco’s 1977 smash Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk.
For these rare appearances in Philadelphia, Ciani will showcase both sides of her estimable artistry: a solo piano showcase and a rare return to the instrument she helped define and innovate, the Buchla modular synthesizer.
Please note: A conversation with Ciani and Making/Breaking the Binary curator Kelsey Halliday Johnson will take place at 5pm on the 29th at International House; the event is free and open to the public.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. ANW informs, inspires, and challenges listeners to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation, and experimental music in contemporary culture. ANW events provide a forum for discourse, emergent trends in contemporary music, and unique forms of cultural exchange, while nurturing a diverse community for innovative music.