Accento – The City in the Piano VI


The City in the Piano is a duo series conceived as a processual encounter between Berlin-based dancer and choreographer Yui Kawaguchi and jazz pianist and composer Aki Takase. Their collaboration is characterised by the shared experience of Japanese roots and the assimilation and appropriation of a new culture in a large German city. With The City in the Piano, however, the internationally renowned artists take the theme out of the concrete example and put it into a creative, utopian dialogue. Expressive variations on the relationships between urbanity, sound and movement emerge. Diversely influenced by Asian as well as European, classical as well as contemporary forms of expression, both challenge the flexibility of the languages of dance and music and push them into unexpected dimensions. Inspired by Takase's collaboration with Alexander Schlippenbach, among others, on 20 musical city collages, the first duo with composer/pianist and choreographer/dancer was created in 2008: The City in the Piano - Kanon. Continuing with Forte in the same year, then Tarantella in 2009, Chaconne in 2011 and Cadenza in 2013, the sixth episode of The City in the Piano, Accento, will have its world premiere on 16 December 2022 in the Kuppelhalle of the silent green Kulturquartier. Each episode of the series is thus based on its own musical form.

In music, Accento means "to set an accent" and thus refers to the focus of the new episode. If accents change, e.g. due to drastic events, people experience a change in the usual verbal and non-verbal dialogue and in the rhythm of encounters in public space. Adaptation is required, learning new things, planning and improvising to cope with everyday life. In The City in Piano VI - Accento, the pianist and the dancer, each with their own forms of expression, take up various elements as "accents" that make urban life more dynamic or more uncomfortable. They leap over boundaries and unfold an impulsive, humorous and at the same time poetic dialogue.
What is the rhythm that drives us to the wall? Where are our heads stuck right now? How do we manage to jump out of the situation?

But the city is even more than sound and movement, it is always also space. Narrow, wide, high, intricate space. For The City in the Piano VI - Accento, Berlin designer Gabi Schillig explores the parallels between the structural elements of piano and city. She has designed a stage set and performative objects that set architectural accents in interaction with the body, piano and space. Also important is the venue, the octagonal domed hall of silent green in Berlin-Wedding, a flexible, open space that allows for a dynamic interplay between installation and musical-dance performance. In the midst of the action, the audience experiences the various immersive dimensions of the city, constantly transforming like a living organism.


Concept / Choreography / Dance:
 Yui Kawaguchi
Concept / Composition / Piano: Aki Takase
Stage design & performative architectures: Gabi Schillig
Light / Technology: Fabian Bleisch
Assistance: Ayko Bleisch
Production: Rosi Ulrich
Communication: k3 berlin

Aki Takase
was born in Osaka and studied music in Tokyo. Since 1981 she has been giving concerts in the USA, Europe and Japan, recording with Lester Bowie, Cecil McBee, Bob Moses, Joe Henderson, Joe Chambers, David Liebmann and John Zorn, among others. Since 1988 with Alexander von Schlippenbach and the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Numerous duos with Maria Joao, von Schlippenbach, David Murray, Rudi Mahall, Louis Sclavis, among others. Silke Eberhard, Klang und Texte with the writer Yoko Tawada, Die Stadt im Klavier with the dancer Yui Kawaguchi, Isn`t it Romantic? with Daniel Erdmann, Carmen Rhapsody with Mayumi Nakamura. Since 2000 LOK.03 with Alexander von Schlippenbach and DJIIIVibe. Fats Waller project with Eugene Chadbourne, Nils Wogram, Rudi Mahall and Paul Lovens. From 2018 in the Quintet Japanic with Daniel Erdmann, DJlllVibe, Johannes Fink, Dag Magnus Narvesen, in the trio AUGE (with Christian Weber, Michael Griener) and also in duo. From 1994 to 1996 she was a lecturer in the music department of the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, and from 1997 to 2000 a guest professor at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in the subjects piano and ensemble playing. Takase has been listed eight times (1989-2017) in the quarterly lists of the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. For the CD Aki Takase plays Fats Waller she was awarded the Annual Prize of the German Record Critics in 2004. 1999 Berliner Zeitung Critics' Prize and 2002 SWR Jazz Prize, 2018 Jazz Prize Berlin, 2021 Albert-Mangelsdorff Prize.

Yui Kawaguchi
began dancing at the age of 6. As a dancer in various Japanese companies, she quickly appeared on the most renowned stages worldwide. She has been working in Berlin since 2005. She has presented her own productions at numerous international dance festivals in Asia, Europe and the USA. The milestones of her artistic work are andropolaroid (Cologne Dance Prize 2010) and MatchAtria (2015). She is part of the original cast and co-choreographer for the production Flying Bach (ECHO Klassik Sonderpreis 2010) by Flying Steps. During the Corona Crisis, Kawaguchi developed the performance DisTanz with Ruben Reniers (2020/21 FAUST Retrospective). 2020 TV premiere (ARTE) Force&Freedom by Nico and the Navigators and Kussquartett. 2021 World premiere SUITE CUBIC with Julia Kursawe and Daniel Mandolini at Konzerthaus Berlin, Somewhere, Everywhere, Nowhere in collaboration with choreographer Alison Currie in OzAsia Festival in Adelaide, MUGEN at Sophiensaele Berlin. In 2022 she will take over the artistic direction of the AR dance performance Du musst Dein Leben Rendern! with Nico and the Navigators.

Day 1
Friday, December 16
Start: 8 pm

Day 2
Saturday, December 17
Start: 8 pm

Day 3
Sunday, December 18
Start: 6 pm

A Production of Mendora | Yui Kawaguchi. Supported by the Performing Arts Fund with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media within the framework of NEUSTART KULTUR.