Taking its name from Bohemian painter František Kupka’s iconic 1909 painting The Piano Keys, the Brisbane-based contemporary music ensemble Kupka’s Piano aims to entice audiences into hearing new sounds, new structures, new musical ideas.
Ensemble in Residence at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts (JWCoCA), Kupka’s Piano is a youthful collective of Australia’s brightest emerging musicians and composers. Through innovative and engaging programming, the ensemble celebrates the latest classical music from Australia and around the world, filling a much-needed gap in Brisbane’s music scene. Over the past four years Kupka’s Piano has developed a strong community profile within the Australian music scene, performing to sold-out audiences in their four-part concert series at the Judith Wright Centre in 2013-2015.
The ensemble uses a variable formation of instruments derived from the ‘Pierrot Sextet’, comprised of flute(s), clarinet(s), violin, cello, piano, percussion, and the ensemble often works with guest collaborators of varying instrumentation. To date, it has given 26 world premieres and 22 Australian premieres including a full length music and dance production, ‘The Human Detained’.
The group has been lauded in the media for its diverse programming and high standards of musicianship. “Throughout the entire concert, the seamless blending of sound between instruments reveals a genuine strength of the ensemble. Whether in forming a vertical texture or in handing a phrase from one instrument to another, the sound glows with the musicality of the performers.” (Greg Hooper, Realtime Arts).
Since its inception in 2011, the group has gained invaluable experience domestically and around the world. The ensemble began residence at the JWCoCA in 2012 and continues to present a core concert series at the venue. In 2013, the ensemble received a JUMP Mentorship with Germany’s Ensemble Interface, with whom they have formed an ongoing relationship. In 2014, Kupka’s Piano performed with Ensemble Offspring and continues to work with the ensemble nationally. Also in 2014, the group attended the prestigious Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music in Germany, where pianist Alex Raineri won the Kranichsteiner Stipendium Musikpreis for excellent in performance. Most recently the ensemble took part in the 2015 Impuls Academy in Graz, Austria. Other collaborators have included Graeme Jennings, Tristram Williams and Benjamin Marks (ELISION Ensemble), Aventa Ensemble (Canada) and MakeShift Dance Collective (Brisbane).
In its home community, the ensemble has performed at QSOCurrent, Brisbane City Council Lunchtime Series, Queensland Conservatorium of Music, University of Queensland, Crossbows Festival, Brisbane Emerging Arts Festival, and have been broadcast on ABC Classic FM, nationally on the MBS Networks, and 4ZZZ.