On Tuesday, February 14, SNHU welcomed pianist Fred Moyer back to campus for the twenty-first time. He gave an intimate performance in the Banquet Hall as part of the SNHU Concert Series.
Moyer treated the audience to a bit of a history lesson through his hour-long performance. The pieces he performed ranged from Mozart and Beethoven to more recent jazz improvisations from Oscar Peterson.
The piece “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, a 17-minute epic, went over especially well with the audience. “I’ve heard it before and it’ s like a jazzy upbeat tune. I love the upbeat stuff,” said David Smolenski, a third-year music student.
When not performing, Moyer is also a computer programmer and engineer. This shines through in his performances with his tech-heavy stage setup.
“I don’ t know what it is but so many of my musical friends end up going into programming. The two seem to go together,” Moyer said, speaking of the connection between music and computer science.
“There’ s something very similar about a piece of music and a [computer] program.” Moyer works on a number of tools for practicing, analyzing, performing and recording music. “I wrote this program that analyzes music. I’ ve been working on it for thirty years…It’ s become this total obsession,” Moyer says.
Moyer’ s piano was flanked by speakers used to play a custom backing track, simulating a live band. Moyer controlled the music with a series of foot pedals under the piano.
Moyer also used a GoPro camera to frame a close shot on his hands. This video feed was then played live, over a projector onto a screen stuck to the underside of the piano’ s lid. “My eyes were pretty much glued to that screen the whole time.” said Smolenski.
Moyer is thrilled that he is able to use technology to help his audience enjoy music. He is in the process of getting this configuration, dubbed MoyerCam, patented.
“One guy came up and told me, ‘I’m hard of hearing but when I saw your hands playing the notes I felt like I could hear them better,’” Moyer said of his experience bringing the setup into a retirement home.