Mark Micchelli “Entangled”

Mark Micchelli is a pianist and composer based in Pittsburgh. He can be found playing all types of music—jazz, classical, experimental, pop, whatever. Current projects include composing a series of wickedly difficult piano etudes, organizing a series of free improvisation sessions at a local distillery, and playing with his noisy jazz-rock band, Tinh Tinh Tinh. Mark’s music and scholarship have been featured at SMT, ICMC, SEAMUS, SPLICE, the Bowling Green New Music Festival, Pitt’s Music on the Edge concert series, the Oh My Ears Festival, and New Music on the Point. Micchelli is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, where he splits his time between the Jazz Studies and Composition/Theory programs; previously, he received an MA in integrated composition, improvisation, and technology from the University of California, Irvine, and a BA from Columbia University, where he majored in music and computer science.

“Entangled” consists of seven reflections on the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. When two subatomic particles are entangled, measurements made to one particle will instantaneously determine the quantum state of the other. While visiting Professor Michael Hatridge’s quantum computing lab, I was struck by the almost impossible fragility of these quantum systems—even the smallest perturbation will cause the system to prematurely collapse without revealing anything about the desired calculation. This fragility is mirrored in the timbral similarity between the prepared piano and the prepared harp. If you close your eyes, you may not be able to tell which instrument is producing which sound. However, the moment one instrument reveals its true identity, à la quantum entanglement, you will instantaneously know the identity of the other. Each of the seven movements plays with this metaphoric entanglement in different ways: a single line may be played by both instruments at different speeds, or a percussive texture may crossfade from instrument to instrument and back, or the two instruments may simply perform in unison, producing unique, hybrid sonorities that would be impossible for a single instrument to produce alone.

“Entangled” is dedicated to Mai Khôi, with whom I hope to remain entangled forever.


Performance Photos not available at this time.