I performed a solo recital program at a beautiful little museum in Tallinn, Estonia. I played a couple of pieces by Bach for unaccompanied cello, plus a number of my own compositions employing the cello and the piano, as well as singing, whistling, and howling.

To open the program, I decided to devise an improvisation that would make me comfortable and confident, and that also concentrated the audience’s minds. So, I chose something emphatic and declamatory, and I practiced it a few times over two or three days.

Before I went to Estonia, I had a chance to record my improvisation at a studio in Paris. My recording engineer edited and mixed the improvisation. Here it is.


Then I tweaked his mix, adding a little resonance; and I tweaked my tweak, adding an echo that created the illusion of multiple instruments. Is it the same piece, or has it become something else?

Then I added my tweaked tweak as a soundtrack to a slideshow of mine. The slideshow, too, is a transformation: I took a small section of a painting by Anselm Kiefer and I submitted it to a series of editing decisions.

My desire to connect with the cello and with the audience materialized itself in gestures and sounds. Captured by a recording device, these sounds underwent a series of transformations. Now the sounds are a string of ones and zeros, beamed into your home from a satellite high above the Earth.

You might find it interesting to listen to my sound engineer’s version of my “thoughts and emotions,” then my tweak of it, before hearing it as a soundtrack to a slideshow. You’ll have your own thoughts and emotions about these ones and zeros. Transformation is the name of the game.