Music of the Piano Mill 2017

by Michael Hannan & Colin Noble

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Pianos played with golf balls and stubbie beer bottles, a collage of Messaien’s Australian birdcalls, and a musical memorium to Peter Sculthorpe feature in the Piano Mill 2017.

About the works
In Soundscape/Landscape II Michael Hannan creates incredibly vivid sound textures using a variety of extended techniques. In this memorium to his longtime collaborator Peter Sculthorpe, 16 pianists produce stochastic rhythmic strata and menacing noise drones by plucking, strumming, striking, rubbing and scraping the pianos with a collection of implements including stubbie beer bottles, percussion mallets, and golf balls.

Colin Noble’s extensive research into the music of Olivier Messaien informs “Messaien’s birds.” His materials consist of five Australian birdcalls, once collected by Messaien, and incorporated into his epic “Canyon to the stars”: the Golden Whistler, Superb Lyrebird, Prince Albert Lyrebird, Magpie, and Grey-cheeked Thrush. In Messaien’s birds Noble returns them to their natural habitat in the Australian bush. His exquisitely prepared score is presented in the shape of Messaien’s signature.

The Piano Mill is a steampunk tower in the forest of New South Wales purpose built to house 16 vintage upright pianos. Created by architect Bruce Wolfe, the structure is a building and fantastical musical instrument all in one. The Piano Mill has been acknowledged with a 2018 World Architecture Award (Culture – Completed Buildings) and a 2017 APRA AMCOS Art Music Award (Excellence in Experimental Music).

About the composers
Michael Hannan is a composer, keyboard performer and music researcher. He studied at the University of Sydney and graduated with a PhD in musicology in 1979. In 1980 he undertook postgraduate studies in composition with Peter Sculthorpe, with whom he also worked as an assistant and then collaborator from 1969 to 1980. Hannan is the sole author of three books: Peter Sculthorpe: His Music and Ideas (UQ Press, 1982), The Australian Guide to Careers in Music (UNSW Press, 2003) and The Music of Richard Meale (Wildbird, 2014). As a composer, he has specialised in virtuosic piano works, electroacoustic music, experimental music and music for the theatre, composing over one hundred works. He is currently Adjunct Professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University.

Colin Noble is a pianist, composer, and educator based in Brisbane, Australia, who studied with Isobel Grigor, Pamela Page, and Larry Sitsky. His repertoire includes the Goldberg Variations and Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus. He has performed in every composition for the Piano Mill, and his piece Messiaen's Birds (2017) was an extension of his doctoral research into Messiaen's piano music. Colin's music can be found on iTunes and SoundCloud.


released February 3, 2020

Pianists: Alex Bull, Alistair Noble, Anna Grinberg, Anna Kho, Caleb Colledge, George Griswold, Colin Noble, Erik Griswold, Jamee Seeto, Jocelyn Wolfe, Joyce To, Liam Viney, Louise Denson, Lynette Lancini, Michael Hannan, and Vanessa Tomlinson.

Landscape/Soundscape II recorded by Michael Hannan and Erik Griswold and mastered by Michael Worthington.

Messaien’s Birds recorded by Erik Griswold and mastered by David Spearritt.


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Harrigans Lane Collective Willsons Downfall, Australia

Home of The Piano Mill. Creating explorative interdisciplinary projects in rural Australia with a focus on architecture, music, arts, design, and environment.

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