- Started in
- Musician type
- Pianist - Fortepianist - Composer
- Host institution
- Leuven University
- Personal website
- Thailand United Kingdom
Thai-British musician Prach Boondiskulchok is active as a pianist, historical keyboard player and composer. Prach’s solo and chamber music performances have taken place in on many international stages and festivals including Wigmore Hall, Barbican Hall, Royal Festival Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Thailand Cultural Centre (Thailand), IMS Open Chamber Music (Prussia Cove, UK), Viana Festival (Portugal), Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival (Amsterdam), and the Birdfoot Festival (New Orleans). He is a founding member of the Linos Piano Trio, winners of First Prize and Audience Prize at the 2015 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and recipients of the 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Frost Prize.
His recent compositions include Night Suite (2014) for Piano Trio, widely performed by the Linos Piano Trio, and the chamber song cycle, Goose Daughter commissioned and premiered by the Birdfoot Festival in 2016. Goose Daughter has also received performances in New York, and London’s Kings Place. Currently he is commissioned by the Endellion String Quartet for their 40th Anniversary at Wigmore Hall 2019.
A keen educator, Prach gives regular masterclasses and coachings around the world. He served as a faculty member at the Yehudi Menuhin School from 2010-2016, and is currently Visiting Professor at the Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music in Bangkok, a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Orpheus Institute, and tutor of chamber music at the Royal College of Music London, Junior Department. As a historical performer Prach also serves on the jury of the Geelvinck International Fortepiano Competition. Since 2017, he has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire.
The idea of writing new music for an instrument whose usage and culture has been (re)created for the purpose of performing old music may seem paradoxical. But this is perhaps no more paradoxical than today’s widespread practice of public fortepiano recitals of canonized repertoire, a practice that that would have struck an 18th-century musician as absurd, let alone the fact that the ‘fortepiano’ as a standardized instrument would not have been remotely conceivable back in its time. The fortepiano culture of the 21st century is, therefore, distinctly of our time and perhaps not all that contradictory to the creation of new music for it.
However, two problems emerge. Firstly, if we accept the HIP notion that musical languages evolve in symbiosis with instruments causing each other to change through time, and that, therefore, the late 18th- and early 19th-century musical languages are embedded within the properties of the historical pianos, how then are we to reconcile this with a composer’s quest for musical creation coherent to the musical language and imagination of his or her time and place? And secondly, as history has shown that the evolution of the piano in the decades around 1800, was by no means linear or uniform, how are we to decide what constitutes as a fortepiano, determine its idiosyncrasy vis-à-vis the modern piano, and in turn compose music that is instrumentally authentic?
This study aims to explore these and other problems, which may be summarized under historicity and idiosyncrasy. As I seek answers, I draw on my double experience as a fortepianist and a composer. The former gives me an insight into the embodied knowledge of historical instrumentality, while the latter views at the instrument as a sound object, suspended between historicity and experimentation.
May 22-23, 2019
This conference explores musician’s long relationship with their instruments and instrumentalities, questioning issues of autonomy and agency in the apparent dichotomy between tools and musical expression. From the mechane of Greek theatres from which gods were suspended, to Mozart’s description of the Stein fortepiano’s knee-lever as “Die Maschine”, to the epoch-defining technologies of recording, sound synthesis, and algorithmic composition of more recent times, performers and composers have relied on mechanical means to create magic in their art.