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Cynthia Zaven

First at Khoj
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Cynthia Zaven is a pianist, composer and installation artist based in Beirut. Her works include collaborative productions with visual artists and stage directors, ranging from live performances to sound engineering for live acts (theatre – dance). Her research emphasizes the narrative within music and the acoustic / electronic combination within the sound and its relationship with a moving image. Her sound and video installations have been shown in festivals and exhibitions in Europe and Asia. Whether the piano is used as a classical musical instrument for live performances (“Silence bien plus tard” (1996), installation by Catherine Cattaruzza – “Goldberg Aley” (2005), video installation by Fernando Palomar…) or as a mechanical medium for electronically altered free improvisations (the Bienne Klangturm concert in 2002, “The Untuned Piano Concerto with Delhi Traffic Orchestra” in 2006), it remains her mandatory tool, often de-contextualized and used as a sonic interface to communicate within an urban space. In “The Untuned Piano Concerto…”, a sound and video installation based on her performance realized in New Delhi, she improvises on a piano while atop a truck driving in the city, interacting with horns and engine sounds in real time. Her visual works however engage with contemporary political issues, either inspired by Lebanese realities or by site-specific situations -“Karaoke” a video installation in collaboration with Catherine Cattaruzza (2002), “Camouflage Lounge” installation produced in Hong Kong (2005). Zaven has written soundtracks for documentaries, experimental and feature films that have toured amongst other venues the IDFA, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Kassel Documentary film and Video Festival, Videobrazil, the Bern Kunstmuseum, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Oxford Museum of Modern Art. She is currently a part-time piano instructor at the Higher National Conservatory of Music in Beirut.