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42 - Gustav Mahler

Much like a player piano, a Welte-Mignon piano was able to record a piece of music precisely as it was played, and then replay it in exactly the same manner. With his fascination of technology (he was one of the first residents of Vienna to own a bicycle) it didn’t take much to convince the composer Gustav Mahler to record a performance on one of the devices.

Having a machine that can replay a piece of music exactly as a composer performed it means that, even more than a hundred years after his death, Mahler can accompany other performers in the rendition of his works as if he were there in the flesh. This idea formed the basis of the 2014 styriarte-SOAP performance, which combined theatre, video, song and a variety of different performance arts to bring Mahler’s work and life to willing audiences.

Like Mahler and the AVL Cultural Foundation itself, styriarte-SOAP performances are concerned with the combination of art and science. Fusing acting, storytelling, music, singing and other art forms with technologies such as digital video projection gives the art extra dimensions that bring it to life. Creating immersive experiences for audiences in this way brings them closer to the artists and their art, and with this performance in particular they were able to sit in the same room as Gustav Mahler – virtually.

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