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Photo by Song-Ming Ang, Backwards Bach, 2014 (still). Courtesy of the artist.

Song-Ming Ang

Piano Magic

March 10 – April 28, 2021

Song-Ming Ang’s Piano Magic (b. 1980, Singapore) shows the simple but magical ways that music activates social and material worlds. In his work, Ang captures music in the widest sense of the term by looking at its history and practices around the world. Ang is particularly inspired by experimental music from the 20th century that value improvisation, audience collaboration, and playing the whole instrument, not just how it’s traditionally played.

For Backwards Bach (2014), Ang taught himself to play the harpsichord and memorized Johann Sebastian Bach’s C Major Prelude from Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier.  For the film, the artist plays the piece in one take, and then plays it backwards in the second; the two takes are interwoven in the final work. Parts and Labour (2011) documents the artist’s four months spent in a piano workshop learning to repair a disused piano. After retying strings, checking keys, and mending various mechanical parts, Ang returns the piano to good working order.

Organized by Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.

On April 6, we hosted an Artist talk with Song-Ming Ang and High Line Art Associate Curator Melanie Kress.

Learn more


Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen. Major support is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, and Charina Endowment Fund. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson. High Line Channel is supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.