Composer John Tennison and a Texarkana native returns to his home town for a 17-hour free Texarkanon concert on March 2
LITTLE ROCK, Ark., 2019-Feb-13 — /Travel PR News/ — Texarkana native and composer, John Tennison (born 1968, and a graduate of Arkansas High School in 1986), is returning to his home town to premiere all 17 hours of his 36-movement Texarkanon (Symphony for a Single Unprepared Piano) on Saturday, March 2, at midnight, at the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium, at E. 3rd and Walnut Street in Texarkana, Arkansas. The concert is free and open to the public, who may come and go as they please over the 17-hour time-span of the performance.
The mission of the concert is twofold:
1.) Texarkanon is being premiered in the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium (AMA) to exemplify the continued viability of the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium as a venue for the performance of music and other art forms; and to increase public awareness of the historical importance of the AMA as a performance venue. The Texarkanon symphony will be the first public performance to occur in the auditorium in the last 45 years. Donations of any amount will be accepted during the Texarkanon concert, 100% percent of which will go to the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium Commission, the non-profit organization responsible for the continuing restoration of the auditorium.
2.) Texarkanon was inspired by and is intended to call attention to Conlon Nancarrow, a Texarkana, Arkansas native, and one of the most important and influential American composers of the 20th century. Conlon Nancarrow was born in 1912 in Texarkana, Arkansas, and his father, Samuel Charles Nancarrow, was mayor of Texarkana, Arkansas when the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium was first constructed and dedicated in 1928. Young Conlon was almost certainly present when the AMA was dedicated. After leaving Texarkana, Conlon Nancarrow went on to write music so complex that the only available technology at the time that could perform his music were player pianos. For example, Nancarrow wrote music in the canon form, which featured up to 12 different tempi at the same time — referred to as a “12-part tempo canon.” Tennison’s Texarkanon symphony is also in the canon form (thus the suffix -kanon), and takes Nancarrow’s compositional methodology to further extremes, in that Texarkanon is an 88-part tempo canon. Like much of Nancarrow’s music, Texarkanon is too rhythmically complex and fast to be performable by a human being. Consequently, Tennison relies on a computer playing a digital piano to realize Texarkanon.
Texarkanon is dedicated to Tennison’s parents, Nancy Tennison and Alfred Tennison, Jr., who still reside in Texarkana, Arkansas. Texarkanon is presented in memory of Barney Canson, an Arklatex composer who died at the young age of 27 in 2016.
The 17-hour performance of Texarkanon at the AMA will be live-streamed on John Tennison’s Facebook page. However, there is no substitute for an in-person experience of Texarkanon, during which audience members are invited to walk down onto the stage and experience extreme surround sound by standing in the middle of a 30-foot-diameter circle of 8 inwardly-facing speakers, each of which will be producing 11 unique notes of the piano, thus collectively contributing to all 88 notes of thepiano. Various forms of LED and projection “visualizers” will light up in perfect psychedelic synchrony with the performed notes of Texarkanon.
Although the concert will start at midnight at the end of Saturday, March 2, 2019, and will continue for the next 17 hours (to end some time between 5 and 6 pm on Sunday, March 3), those with conventional sleeping hours need not miss out. For example, anyone who arrives at the auditorium between 12 and 4 pm on Sunday, March 3, and stays for the completion of the concert (between 5 and 6 pm) will still be able to get a good sense of the huge and other-worldly sound that can come from a single piano when played at speeds approaching 4500 notes per second.
A 30-minute pre-concert talk, “What is Texarkanon?” will be given by Tennison at 11 pm (one hour before the concert begins) on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at the AMA.