2017-03-25 . . .

Green Hour, Grey Future

Reinier Van Houdt

Empty Gallery is honoured to present the Asian premiere of American composer Michael Pisaro’s piece “Green Hour, Grey Future” for piano and electronics. The composition will be realized by virtuoso New Music pianist (and frequent Pisaro collaborator) Reinier Van Houdt, who joins us from the Netherlands exclusively for this occasion. This event will represent a rare Hong Kong performance of a composition by Pisaro, who is increasingly considered one of the most important living figures in contemporary composition. Like many of his works, “Green Hour, Grey Future” delicately fuses passages of acoustic instrumentation, electronically generated tones, and compositional silence into a deeply affecting listening experience. Sparse yet expansive, these sounds seem to suggest a growing awareness of the multiplicity of temporalities which form the human world, their varying speeds and intensities, as well as their gradual decay against the backdrop of geological time. Although Pisaro’s practice fits cleanly into a strain of Post-Cageian composition that foregrounds conceptual explorations of silence, agency, and indeterminacy, his works are almost wholly unique in their effortless synthesis of theoretical and affective concerns.


Michael Pisaro (born 1961 in Buffalo, New York) is a guitarist and composer who is currently the Co-Chair of the Composition and Experimental Sound Practices department at CalArts. A member of the Wandelweiser Composers Ensemble, along with close associates such as Antoine Beuger, Jurg Frey, and Manfred Werder, he has composed over 100 works for a great variety of instrumental combinations, including several pieces for variable instrumentation. Although he is frequently considered a leading example of Post-Cageian compositional practice, Pisaro’s work defies such tidy categorization through its synthesis of elements from diverse segments of the experimental music landscape: field recording, electroacoustic improvisation, “noise” and pop music all stand as significant influences, in addition to the prose scores of composer Christian Wolff. His compositions frequently investigate notions of musical agency, indeterminacy, and “silence”.


Reinier Van Houdt (born 1964) studied piano at the Liszt-Akademie in Budapest, Hungary and the Royal Conservatory in Den Haag, The Netherlands. Throughout his career Reinier has explored unusual repertoires, as a result of a personal musical quest; this has included collaborations with composers, curation of concert programs, exploration of musical archives, and an unconventional study of the more “canonical” classics of Western music. Within his practice, Reinier has a particular focus for music which escapes notation – sound, timing, space, physicality, memory, noise, and environment – to point beyond both interpretation and improvisation. He has performed premieres of compositions by Robert Ashley, Alvin Curran, Charlemagne Palestine, Francisco López, Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, Walter Marchetti, Michael Pisaro, and Giacinto Scelsi. As well as working with composers John Cage, Luc Ferrari, Alvin Lucier and Olivier Messiaen.