PhD Ceremony Luk Vaes

PhD defense

22 december 2009 (16h15)

Leiden University

Luk Vaes publicly defended his doctoral thesis Extended piano techniques: in theory, history and performance on December 22nd, 2009.

Playing the piano with your forearm, plucking the strings, sawing through the piano: pianist Luk Vaes's doctoral dissertation covers all the techniques of play for which a piano is NOT designed. His defence ceremony will consist of three concerts and a public defence. 'Musicians were using the interior of their instruments 'as early as 1790.'

Making a glissando (or glide) over the piano keys as if you were gliding over the strings of a violin, producing so-called clusters on the keys with your fist or forearm, plucking the strings inside the piano, striking the piano strings, shortening a string with your finger while playing in order to create a higher note, sawing through a piano: these are all examples of extended piano techniques, the subject of Ghent pianist Luk Vaes' dissertation. Vaes: ‘I have shown that this is not some 20th century innovation, but that it has a much longer history; you can make beautiful music using these techniques and it doesn't have to damage the instrument, if you know what you're doing.'