The Solo Piano : An Exploration Beyond the Sound Barrier

For Jad Salameh, the piano was in one way or another always present through his upbringing and surrounding – his earliest memory is his 4-year-old self hiding toys in every nook and cranny of the beautiful 6 foot Bechstein Grand piano. Enticed by the mystery and its beautiful complexity, he gave way to his passion and pursued relentlessly the art of improvisation. But since that early memory of his, he has always considered the piano to be more than a simple instrument : a tool of endless possibilities.

 

So when his path led him to Paris, new experiences refined his unique approach to the instrument. He found himself breaking new grounds, exploring new textures and possibilities, as a solo pianist and composer, when a friend and colleague Musicologist, Stéphanie Atanasiu, showed him the ropes of prepared piano. Mesmerized by the diverse auditory realm now available at his fingertips and the transformative power of that approach,  Jad gave himself a larger scale of adventure, exploring the world of the prepared piano, discovering new sonorities, and creating a personal universe by re-inventing the instrument itself.

 

Throughout the Fall of 2017, and with the help of his Musicologist colleague, Jad experimented with the various way to modify the instrument, documenting and recording the process of seeking diverse textures that range from a silky bowed resonant sound to a percussive cacophony of timbres.

Jad’s intention was to create from this place of raw vulnerability by throwing himself in the unknown to bring out the deeper truths.  He purposefully asked others to secretly prepare and modify the piano with various components (metal rods, tape, fishing lines and wine corks to name a few), with the sole purpose of improvising songs from beginning to end on what seemed to be a new instrument at every take. The result is embracing the deeper fears of the unknown and letting go of preconceptions and control; a beautiful state of mind for creativity and to be able to tackle issues that rooted in our deepest selves.

His new blueprint for the piano allowed him to access to new songs reflect feelings of warmth, gratefulness, beauty, heartbreak, intrigue, and awe. His sound has been likened as Tigran Hamasyan meets Tom Waits with a healthy dose of tinkering madness.

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