Work » Projects » by the inexplicabilities we call coincidence 2018

Composed at the invitation of the extraordinary Kathleen Supové, by the inexplicabilities we call coincidence was written specifically with the idea of having some sort of reference to the enormous roosting site of the migratory Vaux Swifts that occurs every year at the Chapman School in Portland, OR. These birds travel enormous distances, and would normally rest in hollowed out trees or similar structures. This large chimney, bearing some resemblance to swifts’ preferred roosting sites, has become a destination to watch these birds find their annual resting place along their long paths.

In the summer of 2018, I visited the area surrounding the Chapman School so as to get a better sense of the location and to conduct some field recordings. The area was dense with the sonic activity of children playing on the playground, park goers enjoying the afternoon sun, and local birds, dogs, all engaging in the open space.

I was intrigued by the idea of finding unusual resonances, and decided to place these field recordings as well as slowed down recordings of the vaux swifts inside the piano. Two fixed media tracks work together – one resonating the interior of the piano, and then the second articulating the exterior world of the piano by playing through a conventional stereo playback system. The pianist navigates between these two worlds, playing a very slow melodic line on a zither placed inside the piano utilizing a handheld fan. The sound source of the handheld fan is to be obscured from the audience, allowing for a mysterious blend between the timbral worlds inside and outside of the instrument.

Supové premiered by the inexplicablities we call coincidence at Fear No Music in Fall 2018, and has most recently performed it at New Music Gathering in spring 2020.


prepared piano and minature electronics
Kathleen Supové · piano