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In search of lost sounds

New works for alternative keyboard trio by Wang Lu, Anthony Vine, and Johan Svensson


The Project

In search of lost sounds is an ongoing commissioning project for trios that expand Longleash’s traditional violin/cello/piano instrumentation outward to include culturally specific, contemporary, or historic keyboard instruments. The project imagines alternate musical worlds in which keyboard instruments of fundamentally different characters, mechanical actions, tuning systems, and aesthetic functions generate new compositional outcomes for the keyboard trio. This cycle of keyboard trios includes commissions from composers Wang Lu, Anthony Vine, and Johan Svensson.

The Works

Wang Lu’s trio for MIDI keyboard, violin, and cello will explore new sonic possibilities inspired by microtonal tuning systems rooted in the modern and ancient stringed instrument traditions of both European and Asian cultures. By employing a MIDI keyboard, Lu aims to gain access to colors, harmonies, and textures beyond the pianistic register of equal temperament, linking the three instruments through a flexible, variable digital sound world.

In a trio for violin, cello, and harmonium, Anthony Vine will apply his expertise in just-intonation and alternative tuning systems in an exploration of the harmonium’s evolving tuning practices. By troubling the notion of an equally tempered keyboard and drawing on the harmonium’s natural sustaining properties, Vine will explore new potential for the interweaving of keyboard and strings.

Engaging with the multisensory nature of performance, Swedish composer Johan Svensson will create an instrument and companion work for Longleash inspired by centuries of synesthetic curiosity about sound and color —in particular, Louis Bertrand Castel’s “clavecin pour les yeux,” a modified harpsichord outfitted with colored lanterns corresponding to each key. Svensson will build on his recent use of electromechanical devices and light constructions in his instrumental works to create a trio that foregrounds the dialogue between visual and auditory components in music.

Performance Plans

These three pieces will be workshopped during the 2019/20 season in New York City and at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and premiered at the 2020 Loretto Project with subsequent performances throughout Longleash’s 2020/21 season.


Project Media

Il colore dell’ombra (Movt. 1) by Clara Iannotta
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Clara Iannotta’s “Il colore dell’ombra” processes the trio’s resonance through a shadowy filter, sourcing inspiration and musical material from Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor. The work exemplifies Longleash’s interest in works that dramatically expand the piano trio’s traditional timbral palette. Iannotta’s “Il colore dell’ombra” was included on “Passage,” Longleash’s debut album on New Focus Recordings.

This live performance was filmed at Le Poisson Rouge on October 1, 2017 for Longleash’s album release event.

marionette for string instrument, electro-mechanical devices and lights by Johan Svensson
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Features: Johan Svensson

Johan Svensson’s “marionette” is a duet between string player and electro-mechanical/light structure. The work imagines invisible strings connecting the performer and machines, as the violinist’s actions are reproduced by the mechanical structure. This work showcases Svensson’s interest in “the relationship between man and machine in live situations,” as well as the multisensory nature of live performance.

“marionette” was performed by violinist Karin Hellqvist.

The Innocence of Trees by Anthony Vine
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Features: Anthony Vine

The Innocence of Trees is a musical space consisting of a series of luminous corridors. Each successive passageway reveals a different shade or dimension of a static harmonic field of pure ratios, a grid of interwoven points. Voluminous panels of tone subtly drift and waver due to the fragility of the sound materials (e.g. brittle harmonics, tape-recorded pure waves, delicate string preparations) and hover around the listener, creating glowing containers for the shimmer of a single tone.

Recorded live at Gaudeamus Muziekweek

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

Project Created By

New York, New York
Longleash (violin, cello, piano) is a group with a traditional instrumentation and a progressive identity. Inspired by music with unusual sonic beauty, an inventive streak, and a truthful cultural voice, Longleash extends a love of classical chamber musicianship to the interpretation of contemporary music, crafting performances that are both dynamic and thoughtfully refined. An “expert young…

In Collaboration With

Providence, Rhode Island
San Diego, California
Gothenburg, SWEDEN


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