On the banks of the River Thames, flames engulf an upright piano. Smoke intermingles with melody as the instrument slowly transforms into a new state of matter.
In 1968, New Zealand composer Annea Lockwood performed Piano Burning, the first official work in her series of Piano Transplants—a series of radical interventions with Western music’s most iconic instrument. The works speak to the transformation of objects, matter, energy and art.
Lockwood’s Piano Transplants are seminal sound works that expand the art of composition’s edges to include the chaotic addition of natural forces. At sites across Melbourne, three of Lockwood’s Transplants—Piano Burning, Piano Drowning and Piano Garden will see the grand instrument overwhelmed by plants, submerged by water and consumed by fire.