UnPiano is Derek Pascoe (saxophone) UK/Australia, Johannes S. Sistermanns (electronics, voice) Germany, and Gabriella Smart (synthesizer) Australia. The Trio was established in 2017 by three musicians from diverse backgrounds who are united by the love of composed and freely improvised music. Through exploring acoustic and manipulated electronic sounds to create a textural melodic narrative that explores emotional boundaries, they create an intimate connection to their immediate performance space.

sound listens to sounds (60’) (2020)

As a Trio that exists through using continents as interstice and as common work phases, we are always listening from the distance: to each other, away from each other, and into empty spaces between our continents. Our collective instincts become sound. I play with you, where are you? Through sound, we seek to reach each other. We play on presumed resonances. We live now, yet we are in other hemispheres, times of day, seasons. And this simultaneity of the non-simultaneous speaks of only one thing: our listening, sensitive, soulful, continent-piercing continuity. At the same time, we always share a moment. This is what we have communicated through travel over the last two years. Bound in sound, decoupled in time and space. At times we feel closer in listening to each other than in our physical presence.  What is temporal seems finite. What binds us spiritually is infinite.


Grand Silence (60’) (2017)

One hour of intense, spontaneous conversation between synthesizer, saxophone, electronics, voice and pre-recorded audio, Grand Silence is an improvised response by UnPiano Trio to the monumental soundscape “The Grand Cenotaph” composed by Sean Williams (AUS). Williams intermixed all surviving recordings of the memorial observances at the Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday ceremonies at the Cenotaph in London from 1929 to 2000. Stretched from two to sixty minutes, these reverent silences are transformed into a single, passionate roar, a fitting response to the horror of war as well as the provocation of John Cage’s 4’33. Grand Silence is an improvised threnody to this remarkable memorial.

The earliest surviving recording of the two-minute silences at the Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday ceremonies at the Cenotaph in London is from a British Movie-tone newsreel of 1929, the last is 2000. The remembrance ceremony was invented by a government committee in 1919 to commemorate the first anniversary of Armistice Day and the two minute silence was suggested by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, former high commissioner of South Africa. The entire country came to a standstill on the 11th hour of the 11th day, with trams and trains stopping, telephone exchanges cut off, and factory machinery shut down.


Archive recordings reproduced under license from BBC TV, BBC Radio, British Movietone, ITN Reuters.

UnPiano have performed Grand Silence in Adelaide, Katowice (Poland), Cologne and Berlin. It has developed into a poignant commemoration of the people who lost their lives in World Wars 1 and 2.

Gabriella Smart

Gabriella Smart

Dr. Gabriella Smart is acknowledged as one of the leading advocates of new music in Australia – through piano performance, improvisation, composition, commissioning, education and curation. In 2019-2020 she was awarded the prestigious Cité internationale des arts Residency in Paris (Australia Council for the Arts), and an Arts South Australia Creative Fellowship. In 2018 she was awarded a Prelude Composer Residency and a UNESCO City of Music residency in Katowice, Poland. Gabriella received a Churchill Fellowship in 2010, and a Helpmann Award in 2009.

As an improviser she has collaborated and performed with such luminaries as Lisa Gerrard, Brian Ritchie, Alvin Curran, Cat Hope, Derek Pascoe and Johannes Sistermanns as part of UnPiano, and Paul Grabowsky. With a background as a multi-award winning pianist specialising in classical and new music, Gabriella has performed extensively in Australia and internationally, premiering over 100 new works for solo piano by Australian and international composers in Australia, Europe and China. In 2010 she represented Australia at the World Expo in Shanghai, and continues to give numerous live and recorded broadcasts for ABC Classic FM.

In 2020, Gabriella performed 7 concerts in Paris, Amsterdam, Athens and Berlin, including 3 solo world premieres in collaboration with the composers Spiros Mazis (GRE), Constantine Koukias (AUS/NETH) and Jan Bas Bollen (NETH), 2 preview showings of new works by Kasper T Toeplitz (FRA) and Constantine Koukias, overall performing 9 Australian premieres in Europe. As a performer, she has received international accolades, in Athens 2020: “Gabriella Smart was ravishing and mystical… with a conquered technique”. (Panagiotis Andriopoulos). Her playing has been described as ‘meltingly beautiful’ and ‘mesmerising’ by The Australian.

As a composer, Gabriella has been commissioned by the Australian Dance Theatre, the Art Gallery of South Australia and by ABC Classic FM. She is Artistic Director of Soundstream Collective, the University of Adelaide’s New Music Ensemble-in-Residence, which received an SA Premier’s Award for Best Event in 2009, and was recognized nationally in 2013 through the APRA/AMCOS Award for Excellence by an Organisation.

Derek Pascoe

Derek Pascoe has been playing saxophone professionally for almost 50 years including regular TV, radio broadcasts and studio recordings across a range of genres. At the age of 17 he was a member of acclaimed pop group Flintlock, who produced 5 albums and were featured weekly on UK national television including Top of the Pops and Tomorrow’s People. Pascoe has played at many of London’s Jazz venues including Ronnie Scott’s, Bass Clef and the Jazz Cafe. He has toured extensively throughout Europe, Japan and Australia.

In 1998 Pascoe moved to Australia from London. He completed a Master of Music at the Elder Conservatorium Adelaide in 2010, exploring performance and spontaneous improvisation techniques. Since 2000, he has lectured in Jazz theory and Improvisation across the Jazz, Classical and Contemporary disciplines at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide.

Pascoe has an extensive recording, arranging and composing history that includes the National Youth Jazz Orchestra UK, Jacqueline Dankworth UK, Shaolin Afronauts, the Zeitgeist Orchestra, John Aue and the Yearlings. His work in film includes improvised performance for the film documentary These Heathen Dreams, with music composed by Mike Darren and directed by Ann Tsoulis. In 2016 he composed and performed the music to accompany the silent masterpiece The Crowd as part of the APRA Silent Remasters series.

In 2014, Pascoe composed music to Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood, which received its world premiere in the Elder Hall Lunchtime Series in Adelaide. A subsequent CD recording was released in 2015 by Finepoets.

Pascoe has recently recorded an album, due to be released this November on Wizard Tone Records. With his group She Gave Him Oleander featuring an evocative mixture of words and music encompassing jazz, folk and traditional songs in a contemporary setting, including poems from Robbie Burns and A.E. Housman.

Johannes S Sistermanns

Dr. JOHANNES S. SISTERMANNS stages his compositions as electroacoustic, SoundPlastic exhibition, music theatre, urban environment, and radiophonic sound plays. He studied the “Tao of Voice” method with Stephen Cheng in New York and classical North Indian singing at the Banares Hindu University. From 1976 to 1984, he studied piano, Rhythmik, and new music theatre with Mauricio Kagel at the Cologne Conservatory of Music. Performances, exhibitions, teachings, and fellowships have taken him to Japan, China, Australia, and the USA. He has been a guest artist at many international festivals, including the Knitting Factory in New York (1995), Melbourne Festival (1997), World Exhibition EXPO 2000 in Hanover, Adelaide Festival (2000), Donaueschinger Musiktage (1996, 1999, 2005, 2016), Electroacoustic Music Festival in Shanghai (2006), ISCM World New Music Days Switzerland (2004)/Stuttgart (2006)/Sydney (2010), Experimental Intermedia in New York (2007), ZKM Karlsruhe Sound Dome (2010) Musicarama Hong Kong (2011)MONA MOFO Festival Tasmania 2015. Sistermanns lectured at the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt (2004, 2006), and worked as the Artistic Director of Experimental Music Theatre in Hellerau/Dresden (2010/11). He has received numerous prizes and awards including the 2015 FOREVER NOW Competition [Aphids, Melbourne]: the ‚Golden Record’ with 65 selected sound and audiovisual artworks shot in and spin through outer space, Prix PRESQUE RIEN/Luc Ferrari Paris 2015, 1. Prize ‘Leibniz Harmonies 2016’ Hanover, the ‚GERMAN SOUNDART AWARD 2008’ and the ‘12. GERMAN MUSIC AUTHOR AWARD 2020’ GEMA Berlin.

Sean Williams

Sean Williams is an award-winning, #1 New York Times-bestselling author and composer who teaches Creative Arts at Flinders University. His latest novel Impossible Music is an extended meditation on heavy metal, hearing loss, heartbreak and hope.



Constantine Koukias

Constantine Koukias
Foundation IHOS Amsterdam

Phone +31 6 49894484
Email konstantinkoukias@gmail.com
Web ihosamsterdam.com