Campus Life

Pianos as you've never heard, or seen, before

Hear two pianists, with very different backgrounds and styles, coming together on two grand pianos integrated with electronics and computers - a chance to see each pianist shine and to see the synergy of live collaboration.

Aaron Collier will perform a set of piano improvisations utilizing live sampling, looping and layering techniques with a computer. Jesse Plessis will play a handful of modern works, some with computer, by electronic-music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of Canada's greatest composers, Ann Southam, the young American, Nico Muhly, and one robot-inspired work by Radiohead. The duo appear in Two Pianos + Computers, Saturday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. in the University Hall Atrium.

Two Pianos + Computers promises to be one of the more unique musical offerings to hit the stage this year.

The duo will wrap up this unique evening with what they describe as a “turbo-rad collaborative piece”.

Aaron Collier

Aaron Collier may be known as one of Atlantic Canada’s most consistently innovative keyboardists, but the Prince Edward Island native is most recently calling Lethbridge home. Collier studied the piano privately in Prince Edward Island until his graduating year of high school before embarking on 14 years of national and international touring and recording with various rock, pop and jazz artists.

In 2001, Collier became the keyboardist for international touring and recording artists The Jimmy Swift Band. In the following decade the group released four studio albums and two live recordings. In 2006, Collier along with JSB frontman Craig Mercer created the “looping madness duo” Scientists of Sound, a theatrical and high-energy electro project which continues to create intense live shows for eager audiences worldwide.

In 2008, Collier released his first full-length album of electronic music, Love, and in September 2010 he released the improvised piano+computer recording Neo.

Collier is an award-winning sound designer in theatre and recent credits include the world-premiere of Daniel MacIvor’s I Animal at the Supernova and Summerworks festivals in Halifax and Toronto, as well as Jay Whitehead and Daniel Judes’ UNSEX’d in Lethbridge, Dublin, and Halifax. He is presently creating a new show called The Myth of Canada under his alter-ego Chandelier, and is workshopping the work as one of CASA’s inaugural resident artists in November.

Jesse Plessis

Pianist and composer Jesse Plessis recently obtained a Master of Music degree (Performance and Literature) from Brandon University where he studied piano with Megumi Masaki and composition with Patrick Carrabre. His Bachelor of Music degree is from the University of Lethbridge where he studied piano with Deanna Oye and composition with Dr. Arlan Schultz and Dr. Rolf Boon.

Plessis has been awarded prizes both in piano and composition. His own works have been broadcast on CBC, and he has performed as a guest artist with several ensembles including the Musaeus String Quartet, the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble, and the International Piano Ensemble. He was recently one of 12 pianists admitted to the London Masterclasses, a program held each July at the Royal College of Music.

He has had the opportunity to give the Canadian premieres of works by Marcel Bergmann, Kaija Saariaho, John Corigliano, Nico Muhly, and Kjartan Olafsson. Recent performances include those with New West Theatre, at the Casalmaggiore Festival in Italy, the Dark Music Days Festival in Iceland and at the Banff Centre.

Plessis is also one half of the Hansen-Plessis Piano Duo (alongside Bente Hansen, University of Lethbridge) which explores the possibilities of popular music in the concert hall alongside the classical repertoire.

A sometime conductor, Plessis has directed performances with the Brandon University New Music Ensemble (BUNME), the Brandon University Orchestra and several musical theatre productions.

Tickets to Two Pianos + Computers are available by calling the Box Office at 403-329-2616 or online at