30/05/2024SonarMix 046: Kelly Moran - 150 years of piano music

SonarMix 046 breaks from the norm: it’s not by a DJ, and it’s not music you’ll hear in a club (at least in 2024). Instead it comes from Kelly Moran, a virtuosa pianist and composer, who’ll make her second appearance at Sónar this year. With releases on UK electronic label Warp and collaborations with the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never and FKA Twigs, Kelly’s taken classical music and the prepared piano out of the conservatory and onto the festival stage. Ahead of her performance at Complex+D, she shares some of her favourites from the last 150 years. “If I could program an evening of my favourite piano music, these are the pieces I would play for the audience.”



Despite not being a DJ mix, it flows exactly like one. “I wanted to arrange the songs in the mix so that the transitions between the pieces felt very natural, as though they were a continuation or reaction to what came before,” she says, via email. The delicate and airy arpeggios of her own track ‘Vesela’ blur into the rolling thunder of American contemporary composer John Luther Adams’ ‘Dark Waves’; the dissonance of John Cage’s ‘Sonata No. 12’ meets the melancholy melody of Maurice Ravel’s ‘Miroirs II: “Oiseaux Triste”. These are pieces which have deep significance for Kelly: ‘Dark Waves’ opened her mind to “the sonic potential of writing for multiple pianos”, while Cage “motivated me to experiment with prepared piano”. 


Kelly has a deep passion for contemporary music - from electronica to black metal - and she´ll be around for the whole weekend at Sónar 2024. “I really can’t wait to take everything in, it’s my most anticipated event of this year!” she gushes. So don’t be surprised if you see her in the crowd at a few shows. “I have been dying to work with Loraine James and [Loraine’s drummer] Fyn Dobson, and I recently got the chance to spend a day in the studio with them remixing one of my tracks… I hope I can play with them again and I’m really looking forward to seeing them at Sónar!”


In the meantime, why not explore a world adjacent to the dancefloor. When we asked Kelly why we should listen to classical music, she had this to say. “Classical music reaches a specific frequency in our emotions. I think it touches us in a way that is different from other genres, and I’m not sure if I can truly explain why.”


Kelly Moran - Vesela

John Luther Adams - Dark Waves

Tape - Dripstone

Molly Joyce - Rave (performed by Vicky Chow)

John Cage - Sonata no. 12

Maurice Ravel - Miroirs II “Oiseaux Triste” (performed by Philippe Entremont)

Claude Debussy - Pour Les Tierces (performed by Mitsuko Uchida)

Nico Muhly - A Hudson Cycle

Kelly Moran - Dancer Polynomials

Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto - Halo

György Ligeti - Cordes A Vides (performed by Fredrik Ullen)

Kelly Moran - Superhuman