Classical KUSC Arts Alive Blog

Arts Alive Blog


How to Play an "Impossible" Piece

Posted By: Brian Lauritzen · 1/17/2014 4:20:00 PM

In philosophy, it’s known as the omnipotence paradox: can an all-powerful being create a rock too heavy for itself to lift? Next weekend, cellist Timothy Loo will tackle a performance paradox: can a musician perform a piece that is "impossible" to play?

Nomos Alpha is a work for solo cello by composer (and architect) Iannis Xenakis, who filled the music with mathematical theories, architectural symbols and a passage that is technically impossible to play. Loo will perform the peice as part of a program next Saturday evening called Hallucination, presented by the always adventurous, contemporary classical series Jacaranda: music at the Edge.

You can hear my whole conversation with Loo (and Patrick Scott, the Artistic Director of Jacaranda) on Arts Alive, but here are a few photos of the Nomos Alpha score ... does it look unplayable to you?


Arts Alive airs Saturdays at 8AM and is available as a podcast.

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.
Stay in the Loop

Receive our free monthly email newsletter filled with informative

commentary, news of upcoming events, special programming, one-time-only offers and much more. Sign up now!