Zubin Kanga

Upper Chapel, Sheffield
Saturday 8 October 2022, 8.00pm

£8 Disabled / UC and PIP recipients
£5 Under 35s & Students 

Past Event

NINA WHITEMAN cybird cybird (world premiere) 
ALEX GROVES Single Form (Swell) (world premiere) 
ZUBIN KANGA Steel on Bone
LUKE NICKEL hhiiddeenn vvoorrttiicceess 

Pianist, composer and inventor Zubin Kanga has worked with world-leading technology researchers to create the Cyborg Soloists project. Zubin performs on piano, newly invented digital instruments and interactive devices, to create a bewildering world of new sounds in works synchronised with film and choreographed movement.

The composers all use technology that physically responds to Zubin, from the subtle movements of his fingers using motion-sensitive gloves, to huge gestures that trigger explosive sequences of music and lights. You’ll be taken to brave new worlds of Artificial Intelligence, then plunge vertically in sound and video on a wild rollercoaster ride, and there’s even the chance to participate in composing a piece for Zubin in real time via Wikipedia.

Prepare to be hurled into a breath-taking multimedia extravaganza of an evening.

Find out more about Zubin Kanga and the Cyborg Soloisits project.

WHITEMAN Nina, cybird cybird

Nina Whiteman uses Movesense sensors and Holonic Systems software alongside AI-manipulated field recordings from her daily commute to create a work in which alien sonic environments are explored through gesture.

Nina’s own programme note:

Research tells us that birds find it harder to learn their songs against a backdrop of traffic noise, and that their songs tend to occupy a narrower and higher bandwidth as a result of these stresses. I began to imagine birds as hybrids of technology, flesh, feather, and imposing chaotic environment. The Birds Aren’t Real conspiracy claims (satirically) that all birds have been replaced by robot drones. I began to wonder what it would be like if they had.


The Cybird Trilogy of multimedia works with live performers has grown from this engagement with machine learning, artificial intelligence and the natural world, and charts the ‘adventures’ of a cybird character that is inhabited and portrayed differently in each work. Its concerns are ecological, musical, and technological.


Holonic Systems (via the Holonist app) allows Movesense motion sensors to communicate with various software. The motion sensors are used to convert bird-like performer wing movements into audible phenomena, through control of playback speed (MaxMSP) and of a modular synthesiser app (MiRack)

GROVES Alex, Single Form (Swell)

Alex Groves’ new work for LUMI keyboards comes from his Curved Form series, exploring gradually shifting loops building into mesmerising textures.


Alex’s programme note:

As part of his Cyborg Soloists project, pianist Zubin Kanga has commissioned a series of new works that bring his practice into conversation with cutting edge technology. For Single Form (Swell), I’ve created a piece for pressure-sensitive keyboards that envelopes the audience in swirling noise and oceanic depths.


LUMI keyboards

KANGA Zubin, Steel on Bone

As a pianist, moving away from the keys and into the body of the piano feels like touching the bones, flesh and sinew of the instrument. It feels both more delicate and precise, and also more violent (for both player and piano) than interfacing with the keyboard. Steel on Bone is inspired by two types of films: medical documentaries and the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa. Steel is the material of both the scalpel and the katana, used for healing and for fatal duels. Using steel implements in the body of the instrument, the pianist draws delicate and violent sounds, transmogrifying them using MiMU’s multi-sensor gloves.

MiMU gloves

NICKEL Luke, hhiiddeenn vvoorrttiicceess

Luke Nickel uses Soundbrenner’s haptic metronomes alongside dreamlike roller-coaster visuals, an accelerometer, electronics and strobe lights in a play of vertiginous tempi across limbs.

About + Contact


Alexander Schubert explores the nature of internet culture, using a website to allow the audience to co-compose the work especially for each performance – the audience can link to sound files, youtube videos, change text and instructions, just like a Wikipedia page, creating a work that reflects the memes and internet obsessions at the time of each performance.


Alexander’s own note:

Wiki-Piano.Net is piece for piano and the internet community. It is composed by everyone. At every time. The composition is notated as an editable Wiki internet page and is subject to constant change and fluctuation. When visiting the website everybody can see the current state of the piece and make alterations. The website allows the visitor to place media content, comments, audio and picture in the piece as well as traditional score editing. The concert performances of the piece take the current state of the website as the score. Hence no

performance will ever be the same. Through the editing process of the community new versions of the piece will constantly evolve.


Videos of Zubin’s previous performances of Wiki-Piano