How to ruin a piano


Manage episode 200173948 series 2115183
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Composer/pianist Sarah Gibson shows us her bag of tricks, plays the melodica, and tells us why she composed a piano piece for just the left hand. Then, we discuss how different concert venues affect our concert-going experience.


Here is a Spotify playlist to pair with Underscore episode #B2! Co-hosts Chrysanthe and Thomas collaborated with our guest Sarah Gibson to curate these tracks based on the conversations, recs, and vibes of this episode.


Composer/pianist Sarah Gibson shows us her bag of tricks, plays the melodica, and tells us why she composed a piano piece for just the left hand.

Find Sarah Gibson online:

Lightning Round Questions

  • What genre is your music?
    Modern collaborative classical
  • Performance ritual?
    Listening to Yo-Yo Ma playing the Bach solo cello suites, drinking a Coke, and listening to playlist in the car.
  • A modern/technological tool that’s extremely helpful to your practice?
    iPad + bluetooth pedal; all Sarah’s music is stored digitally, and there are no more awkward page turns!
  • What failure that turned out for the best?
    Her phone alarm went off during a show. Luckily, it was in the exact right key and added a nice flavor to the piece.
  • Something besides music that you’re obsessed with right now?
    Her dog and cooking. (Not together.)
  • A piece of art that changed your life?
    Ceiling of the Paris Opera House, painted by Marc Chagall


How do different concert venues affect the concert-going experience?

Something Old

J Dilla's instrumental hip hop album Donuts (iTunes / Spotify / Music video), especially the song "Lightworks."

Something New

Los Angeles Philharmonic's newly-announced 2018-2019 concert season, which features 54 new music commissions, 22 women composers, and 27 composers of color. Article by Brian Lauritzen on the KUSC blog.

Something Borrowed

For All I Care album by The Bad Plus (iTunes / Spotify), especially the song "Semi-Simple Variations."

Something Blue

Blue Planet II (Original Television Soundtrack) by Hans Zimmer (iTunes / Spotify)


  • Hosts: Thomas Kotcheff and Chrysanthe Tan
  • Guest: Sarah Gibson
  • Script: Chrysanthe Tan
  • Recording engineer/editor: Mark Hatwan
  • Produced by USC Radio Group


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9 episodes available. A new episode about every 29 days averaging 29 mins duration .