University of St Andrews: Relay good piano players

A collective of piano scholars and students will take part in a rare relay performance at the University of St Andrews later this month in a unique musical experience.

Playing on four grand pianos at the University’s Laidlaw Music Centre, 13 pianists will present Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt’s minimalist epic Canto Ostinato on Sunday 15 May.

The renowned composer’s minimalist epic contains 106 sections which can be performed by different groups and numbers of instruments and repeated an infinite number of times.

The performance, which is open to the public, is co-ordinated by George Cherry for the Piano Association of St Andrews (PaStA). The unique performance is expected to last around four hours with the audience invited to come and go during the event. Each of the pianists will play five 10-15 minute slots over the course of the performance.

George said: “Pianists are usually deployed as solo instrumentalists, so this wonderfully unique experience has offered us the chance to celebrate our diversity and utilise it to curate a once-in-a-lifetime reimagining of ten Holt’s masterpiece.”

The Laidlaw Music Centre’s Head of Programming, Chris Bragg, said: “Canto Ostinato, with its repeating melodies and hypnotic rhythms, is by far the most famous and popular Dutch composition of the last 50 years.

“For our piano students to take the initiative to devise such a complex ‘relay’ version with 13 players is indicative of the ambition and commitment of our student musicians, and the remarkable pool of talented pianists studying at the University.”

Canto Ostinato will begin at 2pm on Sunday 15 May and, as well as being able to come and go, the audience is invited to determine their own entrance price.

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