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Nancarrow at 100: A Centennial Celebration

October 27, 2012 at 7:00 PM
Piedmont Pianos
1728 San Pablo Avenue
Oakland, California

Thanks to those who joined Other Minds and friends in hosting a centennial celebration honoring the great American composer Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997). This was a one-time, once-in-a-century opportunity to honor Conlon Nancarrow on what would have been his 100th birthday. The event will featured a rare live performance of Nancarrow's Study No. 40b performed on two disklaviers by the West Coast sound sculptor Trimpin. The pianola virtuoso Rex Lawson demonstrated the capabilities of the pianola with an entertaining selection of historical piano rolls. Excerpts from Jim Greeson's new documentary "Nancarrow: Virtuoso of the Player Piano" were screened.

The Other Minds Grand Pianola Brigade is an official sponsor of the "Nancarrow at 100: A Centennial Celebration" (details below) taking place from November 2-4 in collaboration with Cal Performances, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives (BAM/PFA). Join the Brigade, and get a pass for you and a friend to ALL the celebration events. Please send a check to Other Minds, Attention: Nancarrow, 333 Valencia Street, Suite 303, San Francisco, CA 94103 or donate online (

Members of the Grand Pianola Brigade
as of August 31, 2012:

Charles Amirkhanian & Carol Law
Scott Atthowe and Patricia Thomas
Bob Bralove
Barbara Bessey
Rena Bransten
Dennis Russell Davies & Maki Namekawa
Margaret Dorfman
Peter and Anne Esmonde
Alan Farley
Russ Irwin
Katrina Krimsky
Lukas Ligeti
Jim McElwee
Jim Newman & Jane Ivory
Garrick Ohlsson
Curtis Smith & Sue Threlkeld
Jay Stamps & Daphne Tan


November 2-4, 2012
Berkeley, California

Cal Performances tickets here.

Other Minds presents a three-day centennial celebration of the life and work of Conlon Nancarrow. These events will be produced by Cal Performances, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) in collaboration with Other Minds.

Highlights include: a new sound sculpture by MacArthur fellow Trimpin, commissioned by Other Minds in collaboration with Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. This new work will be unveiled during a reception at the Berkeley Art Museum during the first night of the festival, Friday, November 2nd, at 5:00pm. (Free admission.) After decades of lying dormant, Trimpin will reanimate a wall of percussion instruments from Nancarrow's original Mexico City studio in an installation that is sure to be an immediate hit! A performance of Nancarrow’s String Quartets No. 1 and No. 3 alongside Paul Usher’s string quartet arrangement of Study No. 33 by the LA-based Calder Quartet. Performances by the Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo of Nancarrow’s studies transcribed for live players. English pianola virtuoso Rex Lawson demonstrates the possibilities of the instrument in his inimitable, entertaining style.


Lawson & NancarrowRex Lawson with Conlon Nancarrow

TrimpinTrimpin In addition, there will be performances of selected studies for player piano by Trimpin & Rex Lawson, and two documentary screenings at the Pacific Film Archive on the life and work of Conlon Nancarrow, curated by Peter Esmonde and Steve Seid. Other special guests include archaeologist Yoko Sugiura-Nancarrow (the composer’s widow), engineer Mako Nancarrow (the composer’s son), composer Kyle Gann (author of The Music of Conlon Nancarrow), musicologist Dr. Felix Meyer (Director of the Sacher Foundation that preserves Nancarrow’s music in Basel), composer Dominic Murcott (U.K.) and composer Peter Garland (whose Soundings magazine published most of the scores of Nancarrow's Studies for Player Piano).

Final details surrounding this very exciting festival are available here.