"Every time Conlon punched a hole, the world got more interesting." —Robert Willey.
life story is a fascinating one.
Early performances of his highly complex work were failures, often due to incompetent musicians, and his attempts to relaunch his compositional career ground to a halt in the (understandably) underfunded and ill-equipped Mexican contemporary music scene of the day. Frustrated by years of indifference and incompetence, Nancarrow withdrew from 'normal' musical circles, and, inspired by the writings of Henry Cowell, ordered an Ampico Reproducing Piano and the required hole-punching equipment for the pianola rolls. The player piano became his sole musical outlet, and he wrote over 50 'Studies' exclusively for the mechanical instruments until a sudden explosion of commissions in the 1980's and 1990's saw live musicians once again tackle his formidably polyrhythmic works.I can relate to hearing musical parts being played perfectly by computers and watching humans struggle to match the speed and accuracy, I think most composers today deal with that.
link to his Piano Player No3a.
Ahhhh.... at last, in all its glory, an Ampico Reproducing Piano.
and the required hole-punching equipment for the pianola rolls.