Ross Bolleter is a West Australian composer, musician and poet. Bolleter studied music, including theory, history and composition, at the University of Western Australia. His study awoke an interest in the music of composers such as Anton Webern, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez. After six years playing cocktail piano at the Parmelia Hilton, he investigated non-conventional timbral and rhythmic possibilities of the prepared piano, and released a cassette, Temple of Joyous Bones, which featured prepared piano.
Bolleter has explored playing ruined pianos, old pianos that have been found after been left exposed to the action of time and weather, thus acquiring novel and unexpected musical possibilities. Thus, a piano is ruined (rather than neglected or devastated) when it has been abandoned to all weathers and has become a decaying box of unpredictable dongs, tonks and dedoomps.
Ross has been exploring the decaying world of ruined pianos for over twenty years. He calls them the “left hand of the universe”. Derelict, abandoned, weak, declining, sad, quirky, crumbling – they are both a metaphor for human frailty and decline and what can be born from pain and loss.