Early morning setup for recording

Related article:

Yoko Ono's Secret Piece

Produced by
Electronic Music Foundation
Ear to the Earth 09

Yoko Ono
Secret Piece

Based on a score by Yoko Ono, this performance is based on audio and video field recordings done at the Nekabong Hunting & Fishing Club in the Pontiac area of Quebec Province by William Blakeney, Joel Chadabe, Warren Cooper, Terrence O'Brien, Lorne Reitzenstein, Reinhard Reitzenstein, and Gayle Young.

Thursday, October 8, 8pm
Judson Church
55 Washington Square South

$15 / $10 students, seniors, and EMF Subscribers

< Back to the festival index


Secret Piece..................................................................................................................Yoko Ono
    Madeleine Shapiro, cello
    Esther Lamneck, clarinet
    Gayle Young, amaranth

The concert at Judson Church, October 8, 2009.

A recording from June 13, 2009
at the Nekabong Hunting & Fishing Club

Invited participants: Seungyon-Seny Lee, Dean, Music Technology, Graduate School of Culture & Art, SangMyung University, Seoul, Korea; Garth Paine, Senior Lecturer in Music Technology, Coordinator VIPRE Research Lab, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Austalia.



Yoko Ono
Acclaimed musician, conceptual and performance artist, member of the Fluxus movement in the 1960s, Yoko Ono is known for her performance work Cut Piece, the book Grapefruit, and the film No. 4. She has worked with John Cage, David Tudor, Ornette Coleman, Jackson MacLow, Jonas Mekas, Yvonne Rainer, Andy Warhol, and other outstanding composers and artists. Photo by Chris Floyd©Yoko Ono

Madeleine Shapiro
Madeleine Shapiro, cellist, performs throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America. From 1974-1996, she was cellist and co-director of The New Music Consort, which toured the US and Europe and presented premiere performances of works by Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Charles Wuorinen, and Mario Davidovsky. Her performances are available on New World Records, CRI, and Mode Records.

Esther Lamneck
Esther Lamneck, clarinetist, winner of the prestigious Pro Musicis Award, has appeared as soloist with major orchestras, with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, and with renowned artists including Isaac Stern. She has performed throughout the US and Europe in featured appearances at music festivals in Spoleto, Siena, Paris, Salzburg, Mexico City, Newport, and others.

Gayle Young
Composer, performer, instrument builder, author, Gayle Young has composed music for sculptural installations by Reinhard Reitzenstein. In 1980, she designed and built the Amaranth, a 24-stringed instrument that can be tuned to any set of pitches. She has been the publisher of Musicworks Magazine and author of a major book on Hugh Le Caine, Canadian instrument designer.


Yoko Ono's Secret Piece is an early work that unfolded from a childhood homework assignment in which she was asked to translate daily sounds into notes. Later, while a student at Sarah Lawrence College, she attempted to notate the songs of birds. Finding it impossible, she composed Secret Piece instead. The score to Secret Piece is a page of music paper with a single note drawn on it with instructions to a performer to play the note in a secluded place between 5 and 8am.

EMF's realization of the score began when ringleader William Blakeney, otherwise an attorney based in Toronto, organized a sortie of willing recruits, equipped with battery-powered audio and video gear, to head north to the secluded Nekabong Hunting & Fishing Club in the Pontiac area of Quebec Province. In addition to Blakeney, the group consisted of Joel Chadabe, Warren Cooper, Thomas Galligan, Terrence O'Brien, Lorne Reitzenstein, Reinhard Reitzenstein, and Gayle Young. The group recorded the sounds and images at the site on two successive mornings, the first from 5 to 8am, the second from 4 to 7am. Beautiful and indeed secluded, the location, surrounded by forest, faced a lake.

Clouds reflect on the lake at sunset

The lake at sunrise

EMF's presentation of Secret Piece at Ear to the Earth 2009 was a re-creation of the sounds and images recorded at the Nekabong Hunting & Fishing Club, edited by William Blakeney from three hours down to one to be reproduced as an immersive environment with the one note played by three performers: Madeleine Shapiro, cello, Esther Lamneck, clarinet, and Gayle Young, amaranth.

< Back to the festival index