Black Cats and Blues (2014-18)




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Recording, musical

Peer reviewed



Black Cats and Blues (2014-18) is a hyper-media concerto for cello and digital technologies. It consists of a series of interactive digital environments for a solo cellist to explore new approaches in performance. The research challenge was to reconsider the notion of a “concerto” through the digital score: first, the technical challenge for the musician to cooperate with the hyper-media elements of the technology; second, how the performer embraces the ‘pataphysical nature of the original stories and their translation into digital music; and third, how the performer embodies the digitally mediated worlds set-up by each of the movements. The technology has three roles:

  1. to provide natural and fluid interactions between the human performer and the processed soundworlds supporting the musicians' skills to excel in the concerto;
  2. to extend the sonic and creative possibilities of the performer, in a sense re-inventing the 'cellist and their musicality;
  3. for the technology to become an autonomous other whose presence works in polyphony in the flow on an equal level.

The premiere was commissioned in 2018 by HEARding Cats Collective of St Louis, in collaboration with the ‘cellist Craig Hutgren, followed by a recording of the work in August 2018 (currently in discussion with Leo Records). The experience felt by Hultgren was described as ‘my relationship with the digital elements was like an improvisation with another person’ insofar that the digital technology cooperated with him in the here-and-now of musicking.





Research Institute

Music, Technology and Innovation - Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2)