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Jeffery Young

first performed on March 20, 2014
Spread Art @detroit Contemporary, Detroit, MI
performed three times in 2014


Detroit, MI /


“Piano Sonata #…” is an ongoing performance work that explores the relationship between the artist and the instrument through the simultaneous destruction of one instrument (the piano) and the creation of a new sound sculpture (piano soundboard). Having taken piano lessons for one year at age 16 but never continuing after and therefore not really “knowing” how to “play” the piano, I became frustrated with the lack of follow through with the piano lessons and practice. Although I studied Jazz Performance at Berklee College of Music (bass) and then Ethnomusicology at Florida State University as well as playing music professionally throughout my 20’s, I still cannot “play” the piano as I would like to. Turning my practice towards visual art in my 30’s and then performance art in my late 30’s, I began to experiment with creating sound sculptures through performance and performance art.

“Piano Sonata #…” combines performance, music and art by creating a new sculpture through the performance act of completely destroying the piano and breaking it down to just the sound board which is then recreated into a sound sculpture. The frustrations of never learning how to “play” the piano are expressed through the physical destruction of the piano, sometimes violently and sometimes precise and methodical. The satisfaction of creating a new sound sculpture more than makes up for not knowing how to “play” the piano.

Piano Sonata #1 was performed during the Creative [sonic performance] Incubator at Spread Art @detroit contemporary in Detroit Michigan on March 20th, 2014.

Piano Sonata #2 was performed during Spread Art’s Summer Group Show VII: Transient ID: DET<->NYC at Bushwick Open Studios on May 31st, 2014.

Piano Sonata #3 was performed during Sidewalk Festival at Eastern Market on September 7th, 2014.