KTOO and CrossSound hold Juneau's (and perhaps the world's) very first Piano Slam

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2003

KTOO-FM Program Director Jeff Brown and CrossSound Artistic Co-Director Stefan Hakenberg have one mandate for the first annual CS/K2 Piano Slam!

Anything goes, as long as it doesn't damage Northern Light United Church's grand piano.

The Piano Slam, co-sponsored by KTOO and CrossSound, will be held 7 p.m. July 13 at the downtown church. Brown and Hakenberg are looking for musical pieces, performance art, spoken word, magic shows - anything that involves a grand piano.

All entries must be five minutes or less. Applications are available at www.crosssound.com.

Brown and Hakenberg came up with the idea while talking about CrossSound one day at Capital Copy. CrossSound, Southeast's annual celebration of classical and abstract music and dance, starts in July. Piano will be the major theme.

"We're looking for people who want to experiment with the piano, in the same vein as a poetry slam," Brown said.

"I looked it up on the Internet, and there really hasn't been a public piano slam," Brown said. "There are lots of people who have performed improvisationally. There's Slam Stewart, a famous piano (and jazz bass) player. We're thinking it's a world premiere. Whether it happens again is another question."

Brown and Hakenberg had received no applications as of Friday, June 6.

"If you don't play the piano, you could still do something using the piano," Hakenberg said. "You could improvise in a way with your hands. You can dance around the piano, use the piano as an object or a dance partner, you could be a pantomime or it could be part of a sculpture. If you're a magician, you could make the whole thing disappear, as long as it comes back."

"On the other hand, if you are a piano player, here's an opportunity to present something to a number of people," he said.

Slam entries will be judged by a five-member local and international jury. The jurors are Brown; J. Althea, boogie-woogie pianist/director from Juneau; Jamie McLean, actor/director from Juneau; Kiyoshi Furukawa, visiting composer from Tokyo; and Martin Zehn, visiting pianist from Cologne, Germany.

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