One of my all time favorite photography assignments this year was documenting a series of concerts at the Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall on the Princeton University campus. The plan was a really good one. The artist, Marsha Levin-Rojer was commissioned to make a series of sculptures that would hang above the stage over the performers – and, the audience seating was on the stage! Creating this dynamic and intimate experience of connecting the audience with the performers and the art. It worked very well. All the shows sold out. And, the art was very beautiful.

The final of the three performances was magical beyond my words could ever describe. David Greilsammer had flown in that day from Switzerland to perform ‘Scarlatti/Cage Sonatas: Journey Between Two Worlds’ – two Steinways facing each other, but one filled with screws, bolts, erasers and bits between the piano strings. The modification gave it a dulled but percussive sound – was amazing.

Photographically it’s a challenging project – very low light, long exposures, only tripod work. Lucky for me I could sit in the on the rehearsals and capture the majority of images needed before the audience was seated, and then retreat to the balcony – only able to move or shoot when there was applause. And, most frequently and in this case it was at the end only. You basically have to be a photo ninja to not disturb anything during the performance – moving step by step on old creaky floorboards. They would hear the shutter click from up there and it would ruin the quiet moments of the performance. Advised discretion.

During the rehearsal David had a few requests – lower the lights (oh no I thought) and turn up the heat a bit – which meant tuning the piano again right before the performance. Lower light I thought – oh well, he wants it dark – dark it will be. I switched over to black and white and underexposed many of my shots to make them as moody as I could. During these final stage edits everyone had left to prepare for the show. I sat nearby and watched David play the pianos forever and took the occasional shot so as not to disturb him. It was just me and him.

I travelled that journey between two worlds – twice, and I highly recommend looking up his schedule and going to a performance. Not only was the Cage part elevating – the whole experience opened my creative envelope never to be sealed again. I love what I do for moments such as these.