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Letter Piece Company (Matthew Shlomowitz & Shila Anaraki)



8.10PM - 8.50PM


Shila Anaraki / Matthew Shlomowitz - Letter Piece Quartet 1: Five Finger Discount
Shila Anaraki / Matthew Shlomowitz - Letter Piece Quartet 2: Mixed Doubles

Described as ‘duet-Tourettes', 'arty farty charades' and 'irrisistibly humoristic character pieces', the Letter Piece Company presents two pieces that melt music, movement and performance with shifting combinations of sound, text and physical action, always with a beat. The show features vampires, cowboys, guitar gods, sleeping and waking, formalistic sequences and thievery.

In 2007 Matthew Shlomowitz began his Letter Pieces series of short performance duos combining physical actions, text and sound. Each Letter Piece has a score, positioning a small number of physical actions and sound objects in a fixed order. They are called Letter Pieces because the scores use letters to represent these sounds and actions. 

In 2010, at the request of the TRANSIT Festival in Leuven, Matthew worked with dancer Shila Anaraki to expand the ideas behind the Letter Piece duos in two new quartets for the Letter Piece Company. Each work develops the ideas in different ways. 

Core to the Letter Piece concept is to explore and shift the relationships between different means of communication (movement, music and spoken word), for instance presenting a physical action with a musical idea and then presenting
it with a different musical idea, or with a spoken phrase that comments on that action.

In Five Finger Discount, with the richer combinatorial potential between four performers, this principle is expanded. Each performer has their own set of sounds and/or actions that are combined and recombined (coupled, decoupled and recoupled!) in new patterns and configurations throughout.

In Mixed Doubles it's the other way around: the patterns and configurations don't change much (the piece is based on a single sequence), but the materials that fill the pattern, the 'inputs', are constantly changing. The focus is the contrast between material types, and seeing how those different materials feel and function when presented in the same formalistic sequence. All material is welcome in Letter Pieces, but the formalistic 'defamiliarizing' of the sounds and actions of the everyday and popular culture world is of particular interest.


The Letter Piece Company is dancer Shila Anaraki, light designer Tom Bruwier, keyboardist Mark Knoop, guitarist Tom Pauwels, composer Matthew Shlomowitz, recorder player Tomma Wessel. 

The group was formed in 2008 to perform Matthew's Letter Pieces - short duo performance pieces that combine physical actions, text and sound. They are calledLetter Pieces because the scores use letters to represent these sounds and actions. The pieces are conceptual in nature, but have a light and often humorous tone. These were performed at the BrxlBravo, Klara and Flandres Festivals, and at venues such as Rational Rec and Kings Place in London and Queen’s University Belfast.
In 2010, the Letter Piece Company began developing and expanding the work in a one-hour show that featured two longer Letter Piece Quartets co-authored by Matthew and Shila, alongside existing Letter Piece duos. This show has been performed at the 2010 Transit (Leuven) and Huddersfield music festivals, and again in July 2011 at the Chisenhale Dance Space (London) and Soundwaves festival.
In 2011 LPC is continuing the development of the Letter Piece language and concept in a ‘full-evening’ piece called A to Zzz. The title announces the concept of the work: the piece moves through the alphabet in order, with each letter represented by combinations of music, physical action, light design, text and spatial movement. The work will be premiered in February 2012 at Vooruit (Gent), with further performances at Concertgebouw Brugge. and STUK kunstencentrum in Leuven.

LPC is supported by the Brussels based artslab PianoFabriek.


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