Kupka's Piano

photo by Jai Farrell

photo by Jai Farrell

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.

Kupka’s Piano is a collective of musicians and composers committed to celebrating the latest classical music from Australia and around the world. The ensemble uses a variable formation of instruments in the presentation of new works, with core members composing and performing on flute(s), clarinet(s), cello, piano, percussion and electric guitar. Kupka’s Piano has developed a strong community profile both locally and nationally and was the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts from 2013-2016. 

The ensemble often works with guest musicians of varying instrumentation and proudly collaborates with a number of recognised Associate Artists. Guest collaborators have included Tabatha McFadyen (voice), Lizzy Welsh (violin), MakeShift Dance Collective, and ELISION ensemble members Tristram Williams, Ben Marks and Graeme Jennings.  To date, Kupka’s Piano has given over 35 World premieres and 28 Australian premieres including a full-length original music and dance production, ‘The Human Detained’.

Since inception, the group has gained invaluable experience internationally and domestically. 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 in Sydney with Ensemble Offspring (Aus) and Aventa Ensemble (Canada). Overseas festival appearances include the 2015 Impuls Academy in Austria and the 2014 and 2016 Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music in Germany, for which the group received a prestigious nomination from European contemporaries to attend in 2016 as ensemble-in-residence. 

In its home community, the ensemble has performed at the Crossbows, QSOCurrent and Brisbane Emerging Arts festivals; at Brisbane City Hall; and has received radio broadcasts and interviews on ABC Classic FM, the MBS networks, and local radio 4ZZZ. In 2016, ABC Classic FM featured Kupka's Piano on a dedicated Making Waves podcast and documented performances of the ensemble's live concerts for broadcast. Most recently, the ensemble was offered time at and attended the Bundanon Trust in NSW as Artists in Residence.

Kupka’s Piano is one of the only ensembles that regularly performs Australian and international art music in Brisbane outside of musical institutions, profiling both young and established generations of performers and composers, and it maintains a loyal listener following to its live shows. Most recently, Kupka’s Piano ran a crowd-funding campaign through the Australian Cultural Fund to support the production and release of its upcoming debut recording Braneworlds. The ensemble exceeded the funding goal and will be releasing the record in 2017 completely through the support of private donations.

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

What's next?

  • Release of the debut album Braneworlds in 2017, featuring five Australian works composed for the ensemble over the past two years.
  • 2017 Series "Words Fail" at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.
  • Festival appearances at the Redland Performing Arts Centre, Dots + Loops, and Queensland Music Festival.
  • Collaboration with Jessica Aszodi (voice), Helen Howard (actress) and Deepa Goontielleke (horn).
  • The premiere of four new Australian works in the 2017 season.
  • The Australian premiere of Beat Furrer's Aria and the Beckett/Feldman radio play Words and Music.