The Piano Mill
Nestled in the forest at Willson’s Downfall, near Stanthorpe, The Piano Mill is a unique architectural feature, homage to the musical history of outback Australia, and an outrageous musical instrument all in one. A square structure clad in copper, it's designed by architect Bruce Wolfe (managing director, Conrad Gargett) and is purpose-built to house sixteen pianos - eight on the first level and eight on the mezzanine. The walls consist of large-scale louvers, which can be opened and shut to alter the Mill's acoustic.
Sixteen pianos have been sourced from the Brisbane, Stanthorpe, Warwick and Toowoomba areas. Many are quite serviceable, and even reasonably in tune, while a few are more dilapidated, with wonky keys and bung notes. Wolfe's concept is that the pianos be kept in the original, "found" state, to evoke the weathered sound of the outback.
To launch The Piano Mill, composer Erik Griswold
(Clocked Out) created a new concert-length work, exploring the unprecedented sound potential of this new mega-instrument. Incorporating mass sound textures, nature-inspired soundscapes, and bits of nostalgic Australiana, Griswold extends his large body of piano and environmental works to new frontiers.
Over Easter 2016, 16 pianists from the local area and interstate, directed by Vanessa Tomlinson, were invited to help bring to life this one-of-a-kind, living slice of Australian musical history. See below for photos and some videos from the event.
WINNER: AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC - APRA AMCOS
WINNER: SMALL PROJECT ARCHITECTURE - 2017 QUEENSLAND ARCHITECTURE AWARD
WATCH: AN EXCERPT OF THE PERFORMANCE
LISTEN TO THE ROAD TO THE PIANO MILL BY STEPHEN ADAMS
READ: ABOUT THE PIANO MILL
ARTICLE: THE PIANO MILL - RESONATE MAGAZINE
LEARN: INTERVIEWS, PERFORMANCES AND WORK IN PROGRESS
THE PIANO MILL