Duo performs with electronic keyboards for free concert

Pianists Vicki Ray and Aron Kallay played a classical piece by Charles Ives and two newly composed works that are tailor-suited to their dual-electronic keyboard style on Oct. 31 for the weekly free Thursday concerts at Pierce College.

Known for reinventing the classical genre for the modern age, the Ray-Kallay Duo uses electronics and alternate tuning systems to produce a range of sounds that cannot normally be played in a conventional manner.

Prior to the concert, Kallay explained why the use of electronics helps the duo perform compositions with numerous octaves and pitch shifts.

“The thing with classical music is it’s different in every region,” Kallay said. “We use keyboards in order to play various tones. Part of what we try to do is explore the different tuning.”

Opening with “Three-Quarter Tone Pieces” by American classical composer Charles Ives, the duo performed a piece on keyboards that was originally intended for two quarter-tone pianos.

Before beginning, Ray told the audience that this piece was chosen for a specific reason.

“This piece is a staple of the genre’s modern era. Charles Ives was one of the first to use unorthodox tuning,” Ray said.

Their second piece was one of their newly acquired compositions from a composer named Jason F. Heath, who just so happened to attend the concert.

“I’m really excited to provide a piece for Aron and Vicki, I’ve admired them for some time now,” Heath said. “This is the first time I will hear my composition live.”

Heath’s “Water Clock/Music Box” accents the Ray-Kallay Duo’s style of expanding tones with electronics, composed to resemble two grandfather clocks ticking at different pitches and speeds unintentionally creating an off-tempo melody.

The other newly acquired piece “All Sense of Proportion” by composer Bill Alves was modeled after a translated statement that Plato made regarding how theorists search for meaning through their ears, twisting strings on pegs to find the truth.

Alves’ interpretation of Plato’s statement is played throughout his composition, constantly ‘twisting’ harmonics and intonation.

The next free Thursday concert at Pierce is scheduled for Nov. 11, and is the first of two Pierce Student Concerts that will showcase students’ musical talents for an open audience.