I had the pleasure of taking care of live sound for piano virtuoso Lubomyr Melynk on Thursday the third of March 2016 in D-light Studios. The performance was organised by Homebeat Events. Emmet Condon from Homebeat has invited me to look after live sound in the menagerie of spaces they present music in for the last while and this one was particularly special.
Lubomyr himself is an utterly lovely human being. He plays continuous piano music, a positively relentless flow of notes and tones that blur and lure you into a womb of sound. He played four pieces over the hour plus performance. I hadn't seen him play live before and was captivated by his rhythmic sequences of deconstructed chords. I found myself likening it (a little) to the sweeping arpeggios synonymous with Norwegian space disco for which I have have a well developed penchant.
Before he arrived I set up a few mics around the upright (after having brushed up on miking a grand piano!!!). I was sure his own experience with mic placement on pianos would be the best starting point. We decided upon placing a U87 over the front of the sound board (see pic), and slightly favouring the higher end. I also put two mics at the back, a 414 toward the low register of the board, and a 421 toward the high end, in an to attempt to reinforce the transients of the high notes. Pianos in live situations are tricky fellows at the best of times but i believe we achieved a good representation for the material he played.
A feature of Lubomyr's performance is to record the piano in sound check and use this recording to play an accompaniment over during performance. I was mixing with a Behringer XAir 18 which has a built in sound card. You can directly route the mic inputs from the stage box to a computer and back out again on fresh channels. It's a brilliant feature which saved bringing extra recording gear, and great to have got to use it for a live performance.
Here's a recording of the piece from the night. It's called Butterfly and has the rehearsal recording and live accompaniment together.