Pianist blends nanotechnology with music

Nov 15, 2007
Pianist blends nanotechnology with music

If the hard science of nanotechnology took on the soft curves of classical music, what would it sound like? The two will come together at a concert Friday, under the nimble fingers of pianist Milton Schlosser, a University of Alberta music professor.

Schlosser, based at the U of A's Augustana Faculty in Camrose, is premiering a series of 'nanosonatas' written specifically for him by American composer Frederic Rzewski. The work, entitled Nanosonatas, Volume 1, was commissioned by Schlosser through the U of A's Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences Research grant program.

The composition reflects Rzewski's interest in biomolecular nanomachines. He essentially compresses the form of 20- to 40-minute, 19th-century sonatas into seven three-minute segments which challenge music-lovers in exciting new ways, Schlosser said.

"You are left having to refocus your expectations of what music is. It challenges the notion of art as always pretty," he said. "The melody becomes pin-pointed, and listeners are going to have to remember states of being, moments of sound."

Each tiny piece in the 21-minute work stores a wealth of musical ideas. It is challenging to perform, he admits. Not surprisingly, "every note counts."

The nano-notes are inspired by a friendship Rzewski struck up with a physicist who also happened to be an amateur pianist. Rzewski, who will visit Augustana Campus in February, set out to compose a reflective piece after his physicist friend showed him a video of a rotating nanomotor - a device that is 300 to 500 times smaller than the width of a hair.

"In terms of sound, the music of the first nanosonata imitates the changing pace of the nanomotor," Schlosser said. He describes the entire collection of nanosonatas as avant-garde with a touch of the abstract.

The blending of technology and music bridges the chasm between art and science, Schlosser said. "It also shows on a human level that technology has to have its expression in the arts as well."

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: Rare early shakespeare compilation found in small French library

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Senators get no clear answers on air bag safety

3 hours ago

There were apologies and long-winded explanations, but after nearly four hours of testimony about exploding Takata air bags, senators never got a clear answer to the question most people have: whether or ...

Nicaragua: Studies say canal impact to be minimal

3 hours ago

Officials said Thursday that studies have determined a $40 billion inter-oceanic canal across Nicaragua will have minimal impact on the environment and society, and construction is to begin next month.

Former Brown dean whose group won Nobel Prize dies

4 hours ago

David Greer, a doctor who co-founded a group that won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for working to prevent nuclear war and who helped transform the medical school at Brown University, has died. He was 89.

Recommended for you

James Watson's Nobel Prize to be auctioned

Nov 25, 2014

Missed the chance to bid on Francis Crick's Nobel Prize when it was auctioned off last year for $2.27 million? No worries, you'll have another chance to own a piece of science history on Dec. 4, when James D. Watson's 1962 ...

Engineers develop gift guide for parents

Nov 21, 2014

Faculty and staff in Purdue University's College of Engineering have come up with a holiday gift guide that can help engage children in engineering concepts.

Former Brown dean whose group won Nobel Prize dies

Nov 20, 2014

David Greer, a doctor who co-founded a group that won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for working to prevent nuclear war and who helped transform the medical school at Brown University, has died. He was 89.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.