Preparations for Chernobyl-themed piano concerto

12.12.2019 - 06:18
Preparations for Chernobyl-themed piano concerto
Composer Sunleif Rasmussen recently visited Chernobyl to record sounds and take photos for the premiere of his first piano concerto
Composer Sunleif Rasmussen recording sounds from a worn-down piano in a Chernobyl music academy

Sandur-based composer Sunleif Rasmussen is working on his first piano concerto, which will be themed on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The concerto will have a slightly different format to traditional piano concertos, as sounds and images from Chernobyl will make up part of the performance.

To prepare for the performance, the composer travelled to the Ukrainian city in October together with two photographers and a sound technician.

Sounds from a radioactive piano

During their trip, which also included a visit to the nearby city of Pripyat, they recorded video and sound footage which will be used in the performance.

Rasmussen insisted on finding a piano from which he could record sounds, and they eventually found one in a run-down music academy.

“It was in a really poor condition,” says sound technician Finnur Hansen. “All the keys were broken, so to get a sound out of it, Sunleif resorted to using a guitar plectrum to play the piano strings.” 

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