Wilson’s world of wonder

Prepare to be transformed.

Highly-regarded Queenstown pianist Mark Wilson is about to take audiences to a whole different world with a reflective performance called ‘Te Taiao’ (respect for nature) tomorrow.

He’s created a performance featuring birdsong and improvisation on a grand piano, all inspired by an extended break in the Coromandel over the summer.

Wife Emma says they were walking in Whangapoua and listening to the birds and Mark had his keyboard and began improvising with them.

‘‘It came out of being receptive and taking time and listening to the birds … not repeating what they were doing, but listening to the birds’ intonation and melodic phrasing.’’

She says too often we approach a walk charged up with adrenalin, listening to music, blocking out the natural sounds.

The upcoming event, at Queenstown’s Te Atamira arts and cultural centre, invites audiences to step out of their daily life, detach from technology and step into the broad sense of creation.

Emma says it’ll be a wonderfully relaxing, meditative hour-long event.

Mark, who’s been blind from birth and therefore listens to the world more than most of us, says it’s also about opening hearts and minds.

Emma says her dream is for people to see the world the way he does.

‘‘The show is very calming, there’ll be no applause, no breaks.’’

The soundscape will be half birdsong, half music, and also feature photographs of nature, and natural objects like shells and stones to share among the audience.

Mark’s been careful to enhance not overwhelm the sounds of nature, she says.

Having lost his father, Boyd Wilson, just before Christmas, this event’s being dedicated to his memory — some of Boyd’s favourite poems will be projected onto a screen as Mark plays the grand piano.

Emma says Mark admits to a few nerves about entering this new genre, and has tried out the music at the Sherwood songwriting society evenings to positive reactions.

“Within 30 seconds of him beginning, one spectator left his chair and began lying prone on the floor in a yoga shavasana pose, he was
so relaxed.”

While having a spiritual element, Emma says ‘‘there is no religiousness as such in the show, but there’s a feeling of a sense of nature and a sense of stewardship by caring for nature and listening through different ears’’.

Audiences are encouraged to bring their own home comforts like cushions and bean bags so they can fully relax into the experience.

Te Taiao with Mark Wilson, Te Atamira, Sunday, 5pm. Tickets $30 waged, $25 unwaged (under-12s free), via teatamira.nz

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