There’s nothing more pleasing than an artist who deliberately goes out of their way to avoid being labelled. Artistic freedom to create music without classification and which is impossible to pigeonhole is a healthy, vital component of music, and one which pianist, Belle Chen, fully embraces. The Australian/Taiwanese pianist has recently released her album, Mademoiselle, a musical travelogue and meditative piece which unraveled over two days in a small Paris flat. On 18th October, Belle gave the first live performances of some of these works before an audience who, without question, had their preconceptions smashed.
Appearing as part of the Bloomsbury Festival, Belle performed at Senate House, an unusual but incredibly imposing venue, perfectly strange for an artist who challenges with every element of her live shows. The challenge was to make an incredibly personal, emotional album accessible to a live audience. This was achieved not only through her music but also interpretative dance, arresting visuals and an array of electronics with which she was able to mold her music architecturally and organically. Her pieces were influenced by an array of composers, from Ravel to Stravinsky, yet were still very much her own sound – incredibly detailed, yet giving space for the listener to contemplate their own feelings. With a further showed scheduled at the venue on Saturday 21st October, this is a highly recommended experience for those who relish new musical experiences and the sheer artistry of a skilled musician.