Drums that strike themselves. Loudspeakers that pivot and pirouette. Pianos whose keys tap dance ghostly toccatas. Welcome to a brave new world of mechatronic music, where self-playing instruments rule.

Autonomous instruments have fascinated composers since the dawn of the mechanical age. The most famous of these is arguably George Antheil’s epic work Ballet Mécanique (1925) – best described as The Rite of Spring meets heavy metal. 

In Mechanical Ballet, experience the wonder for yourself as a crowd of mechatronic loudspeakers and percussion instruments come to life – created by Wellington-based musicians/engineers Jim Murphy, Mo Zareei, Bridget Johnson and David Downes. They keep pace with percussionists from leading Kiwi new music ensemble Stroma and top New Zealand pianists Sarah Watkins and Stephen De Pledge.

This concert of virtuosic proportions features two seminal works by US minimalist icon Steve Reich, Drumming Part 1 and Piano Phase, as well as world premieres of works by composers Bridget Johnson, David Downes and Michael Norris. The future starts here.

David Downes Superflux 
Steve Reich Drumming Part I 
Mo Zareei Rasping Music  
Michael Norris Tidal Flow
Bridget Johnson Pas De Quatre 
Steve Reich Piano Phase 
George Antheil Ballet Mécanique  

(The Artists reserve the right to make changes to the programme.)

Discover More

"I can’t praise enough of the efforts, expertise, talents, inventiveness, innovativeness … in short, the brilliance, of the team involved in this performance" on DMS Review Blog.

"An intriguing, irresistible journey through musical mechatronics" reviews Stuff

"This is one of those works that you try and perform if you are insane" admits director Michael Norris to RNZ's Kim Hill.

Friday 16 Mar
Saturday 17 Mar

Post-show Artist Talk: Fri 16 Mar, Hannah Playhouse auditorium

One piece in this performance includes strobe lighting.

Adult A
Adult B

Pricing excludes service fee

More about ticket categories

Hannah Playhouse

1hr 40mins (incl. interval)

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