By Einas Salamin
Improvisational artist Haley Kallenberg showcased her unique music at the American University of Sharjah in a solo piano concert on March 3.
With the exception of Hermeto Pascoal’s Boiada, all of the pieces featured in the evening concert were Kallenberg’s original and spontaneous compositions.
Her latest composition, Bad Dreams for Piano: Prank, which she premiered in Sunday’s concert, is a unique piece that, she said, tells the story of a bad dream she had. While playing it, Kallenberg occasionally reached over to scrape the steel bass strings of the piano, producing eerie sounds that complemented the mood of the piece. The American composer said she had only finished working on it a week earlier.
The enthusiasm with which she played carried into lively stories she related before and after most pieces. Some compositions, she said, were inspired by childhood adventures; others were dedicated to mentors and friends. A few were inspired by bad dreams, she said, including Big Spider in My Ear, Bombing Raid and her latest piece, Prank.
Kallenberg closed the concert with Mr. Barata, a quirky piece about her encounter with a Brazilian cockroach that she said “flirted with her” on her last visit to Brazil. She said she created this story of the Barata (the Portuguese word for cockroach) coming to ask her on a date, in order to deal with her fear of the insect.
“I absolutely loved her music,” said management senior Mona Manoussifar. “I really admire how she turns the simplest concepts, like her fear of cockroaches, into amazing music that grabs your attention, teases you and makes you thoroughly enjoy every minute of it.”
Kallenberg currently maintains an international performing career as a pianist and composer. In 2011, she was awarded the Grand Prize “Most Distinguished Composer” at the Ibla World Music Competition in Sicily, Italy. She debuted at Carnegie Hall in May 2012 as part of the Ibla Foundation Winners Concert.
Einas Salamin is a Mass Communication junior student at the American University of Sharjah concentrating in journalism.
For more information about American University of Sharjah, please visit www.aus.edu