Bil Wa and Elisabeth started their collaboration during several improvisation sessions in Berlin in 2013. In 2014 their were commissioned by Töne Festival Kent to create the piece ‘duo through piano’ together. The pictures show impressions of this piece.

Concept & Performance: William ‘Bil Wa’ Costa & Elisabeth Schilling
Commissioned by Töne Festival Kent

Premiere: Töne Festival Kent, June 2014

Generously supported by Töne Festival Kent

Audio recording:

duo-through piano by bilwa

duo-through piano is a score for one dancer and one musician; using a piano (prepared as a string instrument, with four metal wires strung horizontally above the piano’s sound board), two fishing reels and lines, six metal chopsticks, and one violin bow. The fishing lines run from the reels, through the horizontal wires, to the dancer’s hands. Each movement made by the dancer makes a click from the reel, a rubbing drone from the wire, and; through vibration, produces a tone from the string connected below. These sounds are manipulated by the musician, standing at the piano, using the sustain pedal, preparations of metal chopsticks inside the piano, and bowing of the horizontal wires. The duo remains focused on the score, while, making compositional, aesthetic, and practical decisions.

duo–through piano explores the correlation between: movement – sound, action – response/counter action, silence – stillness, composition – improvisation.The piano is the point where separate actions, physically and sonically; conjoin, phase, oscillate, and/or collide.

In this score Elisabeth explores movement inspired by sound (texture and timing), as well as the visual element of the strings as lines in space. Her movement research revolves around the sensations of sound, rhythm, dynamics in contemporary music, the presence of the other performer, and how these translate in the body in improvised performance. Her performative presence is informed by the idea of unpredictability and surprise in different states of listening.

Bilwa’s position fluctuates between assessment – response and impulse – assessment. Using a limited palette, he will produce and alter sounds and give and receive sonic and visual impulses. The sound quality is atonal, with silence, drones, and incidental clicks and rattles; while the movement ranges from stillness to fluidity.

There is no hierarchy between the two elements.