Peter Ablinger’s pieces usually take the form of music installations. Deus Cantando was born of the desire to transfer the recording of any given sound – music, noise, human speech – to acoustic instruments. “It turned out then that there is no machine suiting our needs. Thus, I had to create my own”, said Winfried Ritsch, the constructor and co-author of the project. Work on the complex mechanism took many years. The outcome was a piano speaking with a human voice. Its functions make it possible to filter speech using the piano’s specific anatomy and physiology, creating indistinct echoes, demanding that the audience, who add context, complete them. The piano is, thus, only a framework in which the listener’s individual perspective reveals itself. The title of the project originated from the work by Peter Ablinger presented on the speaking piano at Malta Festival Poznan.
PETER ABLINGER is a composer interested predominantly in the position of the audience-listeners, the relationship between the sense of hearing and sight, the context in which the sound is born. He says: “Hearing is not passive, it is linked with my brain’s activity and intentionality. (...) Hearing is often presented as a passive sense - we cannot switch it off, decide when we listen, and when we don’t. Quite the opposite, it seems to me that hearing is extremely active, for more than ninety per cent of the day it deals with filtering out sounds, an example of it is the ability to differentiate speech from surrounding noise.” Peter Ablinger studied composition in jazz piano class at Musikhochschule in Graz and then in Vienna with Gösta Neuwirth and Roman Haubenstock-Ramati. In 1982 he moved to Berlin where he taught at Musikschule Berlin-Kreuzberg, organizing numerous concerts and festivals, including Klangwerkstatt. Since 1993 he has been teaching at University of Graz and running the bands: Insel-Musik, Klangforum Wien and United Berlin. He has been experimenting with compositions for electronic devices since the 1990s.