Pianessence – new pieces for piano

Swiss music artist Petra Ronner returns to South Africa to present Pianessence, a collaborative project featuring new pieces for piano and electronics.

Pro Helvetia Cape Town, the Swiss Arts Council, presents a return tour by Petra Ronner, the innovative pianist and sound-artist based in Zurich, Switzerland.

After a period of research, including a visit to South Africa earlier this year, Petra Ronner’s Pianessence, a collaborative project to create new pieces for piano and electronics, has reached fruition. In September, she returns to the country to perform different programmes at three high-profile new music events – one of which has her collaborating with Jill Richards, South Africa’s foremost performer of new piano music. She also will deliver a master class and participate in composers workshops during her visit. The project will then continue in various contexts in Switzerland and Europe.

Ronner studied with pianists Gertrud Schneider, Tomas Bächli and Werner Bärtschi. She appears as a soloist and chamber musician, improviser and composer. Her recent concerts include John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano, Stockhausen’s Kontakte for tape, piano and percussion, Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and new works by contemporary composers at Festspiel+ Munich, TonArt Bern, Taktos and Tage für Neue Musik Zürich.

Jill Richards is well known to audiences both locally and abroad, having performed and been broadcast in the United Kingdom, Europe, North America and Australasia. She works closely with a number of composers, and has had a large number of works – from solo works to concerti – written for her. Richards is versatile, equally at home with the standard repertoire, both as soloist and chamber musician. Her piano duo partners include Kevin Volans and Liza Joubert, and now Petra Ronner.

Other collaborators on this tour include the composers whose work Petra Ronner will perform (detailed list below). In addition to reflecting on the finished pieces and Ronner’s interpretations of their works, some of the composers will also act as sound engineers for her performances. Composer Ulrich Süsse will improvise, together with Ronner, playing back processed samples of her improvisations recorded in Durban earlier this year.

The South African tour begins in Johannesburg, where Ronner will duet with Jill Richards, performing works by John Cage, Steve Reich, Dimitri Voudouris, Ulrich Süsse and others, on the Arts Alive programme on 12 September at 15h30 (tickets are R55/90 and available through Computicket).

On 19 September, Ronner will be hosted by Stellenbosch University’s electronic music ensemble Kemus. There she will perform solo at the Konservatorium Fismer Hall at 16h00 (tickets are R65/85 and available at the door).

Her final tour performance forms part of the programme of the eMusic Indaba in Durban. This final solo performance is on 23 September at 20h30 (tickets are R30/60, contact 031 260 3353 or wilkensm@ukzn.ac.za for bookings).

The works she will perform are by composers from Switzerland and South Africa, and include:

Jürgen Bräuninger (Germany / SA, 1956)
torture / taxis (2010) for piano and electronic sounds

Max E. Keller (Switzerland 1947)
Selbstgespräche (2004) for piano and live electronics

Rüdiger Meyer (SA / Denmark, 1968)
divided west and (equally) (1999/2010) for grand piano and midi piano

Angie Mullins (SA 1985)
Developing Nation (2010) for piano and electronics

Ulrich Süsse (Germany / SA, 1944)
Petra plus one (2010) for piano and electronic sounds

Dimitri Voudouris (Greece / SA 1961)
[O]-Rd: 2 (2010) for piano and digital audio tape

Pierre-Henri Wicomb (SA 1976)
earthed (2010) for piano and mini jacks

Alfred Zimmerlin (Switzerland 1955)
Abendland (piano piece 6) (1996) for piano and tape

Tour Schedule:

Johannesburg – Arts Alive – with Jill Richards – 12 September (15.30) at Arts on Main, R90/55 tickets available from Computicket and at the festival

Stellenbosch – Kemus/Stellenbosch University – 19 September (16.30) R85/65 tickets available at the door

Stellenbosch – Konservatorium Fismer Hall – 20 September (16.00) Colloquium

Durban – eMusic Indaba – 23 September (20.30) R60/30 for bookings contact 031 260 3353 or wilkensm@ukzn.ac.za

Durban – UKZN School of Music – 24 September (14.00) Piano Master Class with Petra Ronner

Durban – UKZN School of Music – 25 September (09.00) Composers Workshop with Bräuninger, Houtkamp, Loveday, Ronner, Süsse, Tozer


Artslink.co.za Account:
Eitan Prince
Pro Helvetia Cape Town, Swiss Arts Council
021 465 9033
083 254 8789
Pro Helvetia Cape Town, Swiss Arts Council


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