New music scored for burning harpsichord

On March 10th, 8 pm, sound artist Bill Thompson will premier a new work for prepared harpsichord and live electronics at Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen, Scotland. In his performance Thomson tries to explore the sounds laying dormant in the instrument that have never been exploited before. On the night of 11th March, the artist takes his project one step further, by publicly burning the harpsichord on the beach in the Aberdeen area of Footdee.

Thompson: “In this new work I treat the harpsichord as a sound icon free of its past and traditions. I use various preparations, contact microphones, and extended playing techniques and these sounds are then set in dialogue with the 21st century sounds of laptop, electric guitar, and live electronics, resulting in an interesting ‘conversation’.”

On the night Thompson is assisted in this endeavour by Patrick Keenan on harpsichord. The evening will start at 8pm with musician James Wyness performing on homemade instruments and live electronics. Admission free.

On March 11th, 9:30pm, on the beach of Footdee, Bill Thompson will present his outdoor installation, ‘HARPSICHORD: BURNING’, which will involve the instrument being set on fire.

Thompson: “When I first told people about my plans for this installation, many of them were understandably dismayed. Why would I do this? For me, it involves both a letting go as well as an acknowledgment. In many ways I think we’re restricted by our reverence for the past, as though nothing of our own time could compare. And yet many people know little to nothing about the artists that created these works. They were almost always innovators, rebels, or pioneers in their own time. As much as I appreciate their work, as an artist I feel a responsibility to be as pioneering, as innovative, and as daring as they were in their time. I prefer to draw my inspiration from their example rather than from their artefacts. This is my tribute to them, and to artists of our own time.”

More information at

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If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Instruments of extreme beauty and The latest avant-garde tricks ...


Anonymous said…
One should credit Annea Lockwood, who wrote "Burning Piano" (essentially the same piece as that claimed by Thompson) in 1968!
Pliable said…
Thanks anon, follow this link for more on Annea Lockwood.

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