Month: January 2016

Visiting Aberfan Sunday

Welsh TV Channel  S4C added 4 new photos.

It’s almost 50 years since the tragedy of Aberfan. Roy Noble will be visiting the site and hears the personal experiences of Geoff Edwards and the late Geraint Stanley Jones. Sunday 7:30pm

An event as relevant today as it was nearly 50 years ago, for the damage we continue to bestow upon our environment and onto each other, as to our own interior landscape.

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue) is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible.

“Aberfan” (Rain Sequence, excerpt)

AberfanPantglasSchoolCourtesy of Alan George

Over the past year, I have posted demo excerpts of the music from Aberfan.

For those new to hearing about my project, here is a sample (posted June 2015) from near the beginning of the piece, the sound of 7 pianos as Rain.


Please make your tax deductible donation here:

Photo of Pantglas School and the village of Aberfan courtesy of Alan George.

Dr. Dave Petley, American Geophysical Union

11_05-Aberfan_Tip_Disaster_5 AGU Blogosphere

Back in May 2013, as I worked on the order of musical sequences for Aberfan, I came across Dave Petley’s article Remembering the Aberfan disaster — 45 years ago today.

An independent scientist – writer for the AGU Landslide Blog, living in the UK, Dave’s post was an overview of this tragedy and its enduring legacy in physical, social and psychological terms.  In this fuller context, I could picture and understand how the landslide occurred, what led up to it and what followed — crucial to the integrity of my music, Aberfan.

I wrote to him immediately.  Thus our communications began.

In June 2015, Dave posted Aberfan in his series “Landslides in Art”.

I want to thank him again, for all the factual information, alongside the moral support his interest in my project has garnered over the years.

DONATE to help make the recording and presentation of Aberfan possible.

Ian Smith-Heisters


Today I want to tell you about someone I met several months ago, quite by happenstance (though, of course, that’s hardly the whole story).  In what had become a daily online search for anything simpatico with my current project Aberfan, I came across Ian’s profile on LinkedIn.  Ian Smith-Heisters 

Within moments of scanning his profile, I felt certain we were going to be working together.

And so we are.   He will develop the visual element for Aberfan.  

Ian will create an immersive space using projection of imagery and semi-transparent scrims, capturing subjects of people, nature and the tactility of coal, ingrained in their faces.  The viewer will move through the space, at times full of unsettling, discordant movement as if being subsumed in an avalanche of slag and at other times still, inducing pause.  The kaleidoscopic nature of the music — random entrances of pianos, eruptions of trauma, shifting rhythmic emphasis, a lyrical voice — coexists with imagery that envelops the viewer.  One can walk inside, behind and around the moving images, inside the performance.

In his words:  “I am approaching Aberfan as a ritual of healing that is part of a longer, ongoing trajectory of coping with the Aberfan disaster.  My approach to the performance is informed by years dancng with Anna Halprin, who uses performed ritual to address personal and communal trauma.  In doing so, I hope to work with Laura to create a performance that addresses the personal experiences of the disaster using photography and video, while implying the disaster’s universal relevance as an almost-forgotten environmental crime against a future generation.”

For the performance or installation of Aberfan, we need money to create a studio recording and develop a design for the visual element.

Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.