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"Mirror Neurons" for Solo Percussion

Programme Note:

As a mammal witnesses other creatures experiencing pain or pleasure, a brilliant golden web of mirror neurons activates within that mammal’s anterior cingulate cortex. Electricity courses through this network. In this way, electronic pulses in our brains embody the neurological sensation we call “empathy.”


“Mirror Neurons” for Solo Percussionist echoes this neurological process known as empathy. Through this piece, I recreate the overly empathic brain in the form of the Vibraphone. Upon noticing the pains and pleasures experienced by others, the Vibraphone reacts; it vibrates against the emotions of the other instruments.


Eventually, the Vibraphone’s cerebral fixation on its surrounding instruments builds into a state of anxiety, fixation, repetition, mania—to the point that the Vibraphone loses its own identity to the cacophony of the other instruments’ emotive impulses.


To remain alive and sane, the Vibraphone recalibrates, reasserting its own identity. However, the process of over-empathizing has shifted the original identity of the Vibraphone in the process, altering the neurology of the brain at a fundamental level.

Performance History:


highSCORE Festival

  • Date: 21 August 2021

  • Location: Pavia, Italy

  • Performer: Simone Beneventi

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