Thursday, 3 December 2015

OPUS2016 shortlisted composer - Emma Wilde

Full Name: Emma Wilde
(c) Mario Duarte
Age: 24

Where are you from? Where do you live now? Do you think this is relevant to understanding your music?

I’m from Manchester and I still live there now. I suppose this is relevant to my music as growing up in Manchester, a city which has such a rich legacy of both classical and popular music, has led to me experiencing many different musical events which have no doubt influenced my music somewhat.

How will you approach writing your OPUS2016 composition for Britten Sinfonia?

As I would approach any other musical composition. At the moment I am particularly interested in creating musical structures that are inspired by Greek Tragedy. The concepts of drama and characterisation are particularly important to me. Sometimes I like to think of the individual instruments as though they are musical ‘characters’ and think about how these characters would interact together.

Who have you worked with previously? What ensembles/orchestras/organisations?

I have worked with professional ensembles such as Psappha, the Hebrides Ensemble and Quotour Danel. One of my most interesting experiences was working with the accordionist Maciej Frackiewicz in Poland as it was an instrument I had not thought to work with before. I also have worked with an excellent organisation in Manchester called Classical Evolution whose aim is to take chamber music into more unusual venues, they have played my pieces in bars and even in forests!

When did you first start to write music?

I think I have always made up tunes in my head from a young age but I started to properly notate music when I was studying GCSE music.

Describe your growth as a composer to this point. What were the pivotal points?

When I first started a music degree composition wasn’t my main focus but at the end of the final year I wrote a song cycle which I really enjoyed and felt I found my own compositional voice, that encouraged me to carry on and I applied to do a masters in composition very last minute. Also I have found the composition courses I have been on in the last couple of years (St Manus Composers’ Course in Orkney and Synthetis in Poland), have helped with my growth as a composer a lot as working and meeting with a variety of different composers gives me a lot of new ideas, inspiration and encouragement to keep following in this path.

How do you start a new work/what is your composing method?

Mostly I do start working at the piano with a manuscript and pencil. Other times I will get fully formed musical materials in my head, I often sing them aloud to myself until I get chance to write them down. Sometimes I get ideas whilst listening to other music, I got the idea for my latest piece whilst sitting in a concert of electroacoustic music, there was a piece that had a particularly interesting structure and texture and I started thinking about how I could do the same kind of thing with an instrumental ensemble.

The last concert you saw?

I went to see the British band Editors at Manchester Academy, I like this band because they are always trying new things and aren’t afraid to get out of their comfort zone, which is an important thing for any composer to do to make sure they evolve and write interesting music.

How do you feel about the opportunities that are available to composers?

I feel that although there are some opportunities available to composers it is very hard to get out there and get your music played. Particularly in the current economic and political climate where music and the arts are seen as a commodity.

What would be your advice to other young composers today?

To not worry about what anyone else thinks about your music and don’t worry about the need to follow any stylistic trends. If you write the music that you truly want to hear it will have more power and conviction

What does the future hold for you? What are your next steps going to be as a composer?

I would like to try writing music with electronics. I would also like to do collaborative work with choreographers, theatre directors etc, I am really interested with the connection between music and other art forms and would like opportunities to explore this further.

You can join Emma and the other OPUS2016 shortlisted composers on 22 & 23 January 2016 for two days of workshops at the Barbican in London, with discussions and performances of the pieces these composers have been working on. Find out more and how to reserve your place here.

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