Anneli Tohver will defend her doctoral thesis on 20 December at 11.00 in room C-405 for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Music):

Pianisti koostöö balletiartistidega: koreograafiat toetava muusikalise interpretatsiooni otsinguil
(The pianist’s collaboration with ballet artistes: exploring musical interpretation which supports choreography)

Supervisor: Professor Kristel Pappel, PhD (EAMT)

Opponent: Mihhail Gerts, PhD (Tallinn/Berlin)

The doctoral thesis is available HERE (in Estonian) and in print in the EAMT library.

In my doctoral thesis “The pianist’s collaboration with ballet artistes: exploring musical interpretation which supports choreography”, I looked at how pianists and ballet artistes work together, and my main research questions were: how to create an interpretation which supports choreography and what kind of musical means of expression are significant in this process. The third research topic – which became the central focus and the most substantial part of my written work and creative projects – was: how to put the experiences gained in the ballet theatre into practice in smaller ensembles like a chamber ensemble with ballet artistes.

In vocal and instrumental music, the pianist playing in the ensemble has one or several solo parts, the ballet pianist, on the other hand, supports choreographic movement. This requires expertise in the performance traditions of ballet music as well as the specificity of dance movements. I looked for ensemble elements – akin to those existing in musical ensembles – in the collaboration of the ballet artiste and the ballet pianist. With every kind of ensemble, it is desirable that the pianist understands the activity of his/her ensemble partner, being supportive in an accompanying function and, if necessary, an expressive partner in the solo material of a piano part.

There is not much research in Estonia on the subject of the ballet pianist, nor are there any handbooks available in the Estonian language. Whereas from the dancer’s point of view the field is continuously developing, the same cannot be said from the perspective of the pianist. This work is part of the doctoral creative-research project, which aimed to develop this field academically and pedagogically.