Space Becomes The Instrument

1st performance: Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Oct. 2, 2009
Commissioned by the City of Toronto for Nuit Blanche 2009

This is a twelve-hour performance that explores the acoustical aspects of an architectural space by inverting traditional staging, using the audience seating area and balconies as a performance space. From the stage, the audience views performers playing piano wires stretched across the interior of Massey Hall.

Several piano wires, each approximately thirty metres in length, are suspended from the upper balcony down to the floor, and from the rear of the stage wall to the edge of the lower balcony. Performers create changing harmonics by pulling vibrating electrical coils along the strings. These vibrations are transmitted through a surround-sound eight-channel speaker system encircling the hall.

A Theremin occasionally accompanies the piano wires, and sparse piano notes are sometimes played in slowly revolving circular patterns around the circular surround sound system.

At regular intervals, a performance of Speaker Swinging takes place on the balconies.


Lauren Chin, Jimmy Coleman, Juliette Coleman, Luke Garson, Adam Hearst, Laura Kikauka, Lily Klein, Laurence Lemieux, Rama MacKay, David McEvoy, Chris Metropolis, Gordon Monahan, Tim Rivers, Andrew Tereskowski, Jason White, Ty Whittington, Chris Worden.

Technical assistance: David Ogborn.

©Gordon Monahan 2009