Very original composer Jes Grixti talks about his composing style, why he is in another planet when he composes and sheds some light on his personality

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What does music mean to you personally?

It is a necessity similar to have breakfast, lunch and dinner

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Life in itself is a fantasy, we are a product of fantasy and we live by dreaming, and hoping.

If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?

I am who I am because I’m a miso! – hard to answer – so much things put there.. who knows… I do not rule out nothing!

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

Its a fact that high art is in crises, lot of factors, circumstances and expectations. We need to be closer to the audience and more education/awareness is needed!

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century?

To be an integral part of the society, Do you see that there is a transformation of this role? Should be more relevant, and be part of a synergy – high art music needs to stay exclusive because it is yet inclusive – I suppose we are missing the latter!

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

Reflecting and capturing our society – our world – our lifestyle etc – being the barometer!

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative?

For sure – sadly for an entrepreneur!

Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

I enjoy very much the composition side – the creative process, unleashing my fantasies, emotions, expressing my feelings and personality. When I’m composing I’m in another planet!

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts?

Friendlier approach, and be part of for example add classical music to family photos, or great moments in once life such as the birth of a new baby in the family etc How will you proceed? as stated before

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

Every piece is unique – it is like having kids – you cannot compare – all yours and all have their own personality! recently I’ve composed a piano trio and an orchestral work – different yet capturing my journey! – that’s what makes composition unique – it is my inner voice and I compete with myself because it is so personal.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

Great and to be encouraged. Nothing exists in isolation!

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Relate, for example watch a movie that has some classical music and take the journey – the journey will take you to amazing places. Simple from the ‘known to the unknown’ – the joy of discovery.

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree?

Sad – but it is the real world ruled by the rule of economics. We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it? Composition is not there to be sold – it is higher than that – but one needs to secure a measure of financial stability!

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

Bringing them on board – lift them up – taking them on a journey.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I believe in substance, and quality. I work on one or two good works. I reflect and I need to feel the necessity to tell a story – a relevant one – otherwise whats the point? If I were in commercial writing that’s another story – therefore, ‘horses for courses.

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Arthur talks why music is very much about reality and why younger audience is hungry for a more personal connection with music and performers.

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What does music mean to you personally?

Music expresses emotions that cannot be put into precise words. What I could never express in spoken language, I can very quickly share with notes and harmonies.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

I’m not sure if I would agree with that or not, depending on how you are thinking about music and fantasy. In some cases, music is very much about reality. For example, the “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” or the musical “Allegiance”—both about very real things that need to be given our attention. That said, while the messages of such works are about reality, the medium of the messages is the fantasy that the music plants into the listener’s mind. Music creates visions and emotions which are both real (they certainly exist in our minds) and illusory (when we are gone, so are those visions and emotions).

If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?

I’ve been a professional graphic designer and a web developer far more than I’ve been a professional musician. However, if I had the chance to start it all over again, I could imagine being a therapist, counselor, or life coach. My motivation in music, web development, and life is to make people feel better and be less upset and stressed, so coaching could definitely be a more direct way to help with that effort.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

No, because I think the younger audience is hungry for a more personal connection with music and performers. Young people today are so “used to” and jaded with ( so “over”?) our constant inundation with music from impersonal online music streams and channels. A live, acoustic performance with one or more person using physical instruments to create sound is both more personal and more meaningful than hearing a track off a smartphone, even with the world’s best headphones.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

I see quite a bit more chamber and live performing happening. Again, it is more personal and… visceral? … than getting streaming music off of a mobile device or a computer. As our community seems to get more and more wrapped up in “the cloud” we are losing our interpersonal connections, and I think that people—especially younger people—are discovering music as a way of connecting, in person, again.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

Groups like Portland’s “Sound of Late” come to mind. This is an ensemble of young musicians who want to play and share new “composed” music in its many incarnations. Their “48-hour Composition Contest” brought together around two dozen composers and performers to create and play an entire concert of new pieces that had not even existed 10 days before the concert date. It was amazing and moving, and inspiring, and the performance happened in a local Portland restaurant and bar, NOT in a concert hall.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? What’s the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

I don’t think anyone has to be “more creative” than in the past. I also don’t think it makes sense to try to force more creativity out of people, or to make today’s artists feel that there is some burden of additional creativity on them. Circumstances, limitations and necessity inspire and incubate creativity, but trying to be creative intentionally, that often leads to results that look creative but are really just a manufactured product. In my experience, pushing for creativity—for example, saying things like “You have to think outside the box!”—will create some extreme ideas, but those ideas may not actually work well when they have to become reality. To me, often the biggest creative breakthroughs are very small, incremental ideas that almost seem to be nothing at the moment that they happen, and only are seen as truly creative in hindsight.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

For one, our local community orchestra (the Tualatin Valley Symphony – tualatinvalleysymphony.org) does a “Family Concert” each year now, designed to encourage parents to bring their children to the concert. I arranged one of my pieces for the orchestra and answered audience questions after my piece was played. That orchestra also just premiered an overture I composed for the City of Tualatin, and the music references the history of the City and the region. I hope to make the recording available to local classrooms with a set of program notes that teachers can use to discuss how the music represents each different part of our local history, both in instrumentation (French horns musically imitating the calls of ancient mastodons) and in style (music written in the style of the native people who lived here hundreds of years ago).

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

As is often the case, my favourite piece is the last piece that I composed, which is (again) the orchestral Tualatin Overture. This piece started with the suggestion that I compose a piece for the Tualatin Valley Symphony’s May 2017 concert, and I started thinking about what a “Tualatin Overture” would be. I used my technique of making the letters of a word into notes (Tualatin=FGAEAFBG). Then I started studying about the city and its history (which is pretty impressive) and working to figure out how to musically represent things like huge Ice Age floods and giant prehistoric animals in a concert work.

My favorite work for solo piano is still “Sky in Motion” which I composed for my MuseScore friend, composer Sepehr Keyhani. I started with the letters of his name to create the main motif (Sepehr=EEBEAD) and sort of let the music create itself from that seed.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

One of my earliest musical inspirations was seeing the original Star Wars in the theater. That movie is probably the ultimate fusion of cinematography and classical music. I have a project in mind to pair wine tasting and musical composition, having multiple composers create short pieces that are inspired by a certain wine, then having live performers play that piece as the audience tastes that wine.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

- Be willing to listen to everything twice, because often we won’t catch everything the first time we experience it. – Never feel that you have to listen to music that you just don’t enjoy. – Seek out music that is NOT in the popular repertoire, even obscure music by big names. (For example, I recently discovered Beethoven’s string trios; I’ve never seen them on a program, and they’re delightful!) – Find living composers you like online and communicate with them about their music; ask them which composers and musical works inspired them, and then go listen to those works.

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

Fortunately I see that composers and performers are starting to think in terms of succeeding outside of the traditional music “industry” as it has existed in the past. “Supply and demand” rules seems to imply “mass production” or “mass market” and in my experience, composers and performers today are moving in the opposite direction. Today, artists are creating new niches and being happy with “smaller” audiences (smaller being relative: you don’t need to have a multi-million-dollar hit to earn enough money to survive; rather you can have a smaller number of dedicated fans and still make a very respectable income. There are even online resources like “Patreon” that help artists build a base of small financial patrons. Of course, the artists still need to “supply” for the “demand” that they create for their patrons, but it’s more about “micro-economies” rather than trying to “break into the music business” in order to be a success.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

Interestingly, I have more expectations of myself than I do for my listeners. As a composer, it is my responsibility to create a bridge between my music and the listener. To me that includes providing a musical and rhythmic framework that the audience can use as a foundation. I may choose to depart from that framework, but to me, that sort of foundation works as a “home base” for my audience. The audience is entrusting me with their time—a limited and precious resource—and it is important that they not go away feeling that I wasted it.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I’m just finishing a “wordless lullaby” for Mezzosoprano Megan Ihnen. This was challenging for me as I have not done much vocal music recently, and the piece also uses vowels and consonants—though not in the form of actual words—as part of the music. Then I have a cello and piano piece to compose for a patron.

I definitely experiment, but in small ways. I experiment with notes and rhythms, trying to do something that is simultaneously familiar and surprising. I’m definitely not what you’d call an “experimental” composer, by any stretch of the imagination!

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Jennifer Thomas talks about why creativity is everything to her and that if young people want to go into Classical music as a career, there are so many things you can do with it other than teaching or performing.

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What does music mean to you personally?

For me, music is a form of expression. And since I am not just a performer, but a composer as well – it goes even deeper because the music I am sharing with the world comes from a place within me that bares my very soul. When I “offer” my music to the world, it is like offering a piece of myself – my pride and joy, my greatest work and expression of the world inside myself, my heart, and my mind.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

This is an interesting notion. I suppose that a lot of why we listen to music is to escape, to take our minds to another place. We want something to make us feel more than we can conjure up on our own. But music is also a very real form of realism, sometimes to what is current in our lives or in the world. Out of the darkest times in history have come some of the greatest pieces of art – both for the sake of interpretation, and also escape to a fantasy world.

If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?

I love video editing, and so definitely I would have tried to go into professional film editing. Fortunately I still do get to do quite a bit of this with my music career as well. I’ve done a lot of editing for content on my Youtube channel over the years, but typically had a professional editor handle my official music videos. But I recently had the opportunity to finally edit one of my music videos for my channel, and it was a great joy to do that. I look forward to doing more, and continuing to improve my skills in that area.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

I think that the future of Classical music is already on it’s way to finally integrating itself into a more modern way of living and breathing, and because of this it’s finding a younger audience. As more orchestras start streaming their concerts live online, performing music from living and modern composers, and also collaborating with artists that aren’t just inside the Classical world – it will continue to thrive.

Here in Seattle, the Seattle Symphony has had a tradition of performing the film score from The Lord of the Rings films in concert every summer (composed by Howard Shore), while projecting scenes and images from the movie on a gigantic screen for the audience. I know that this has been one of their biggest selling concerts of the season, year after year. They have also collaborated with modern artists from pop to rap, and the audience has found it quite refreshing to see classical renditions of pop songs. To know that these types of concerts do quite well is easy to see that today’s audience is yearning for a more modern concert program that pleases a wider audience.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Well, I think that there is a give-and-take situation going on with Classical music at the moment. While many popular artists are creating music with Classical influence and bringing that music into the limelight, Classical music is also taking a thing or two from the modern world and integrating that as well.

As far as the role it will play, I hope that it continues to be a strong influence and a foundation in the world of music. Even though the way it is being presented is ever-changing, the fact remains that the music is there and will hopefully always be so.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

Well, to be honest what first comes to mind is my entire way of approaching my own music and composition process. I started lessons on both piano and violin at age 5 and continued all the way through college. I endured years of adjudications, competitions, chair auditions, concerto competitions, and more. I remember it actually being quite stressful.

Eventually I found my own way through the Classical music world and realized that I could take these skills I had worked so hard on for so many years and actually create new music, and modern music at that. I feel like what I am doing with my own music today is giving Classical music a new face. I am taking the foundation I have in Classical, and creating new music for the new generation that hopefully not only appeals to the younger generation but to the older Classical lovers as well (well, maybe not the purists, ha). And it is not just me, there are several other artists out there right now doing the same thing- from 2Cellos, The Piano Guys, Tina Guo, and many others – we are modernizing a genre of music and making it more accessible. There are those in the younger generations who are now being introduced to Classical music through our music, who might otherwise not be.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? What’s the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Yes. I do think that Classical musicians need to be more creative. I think that more originality needs to happen, and less imitation. People are tired of hearing the same set of standard classics over and over, they want to hear fresh new music or fresh interpretations.

The role of creativity for me is EVERYTHING. As a composer, I need it. Without it, my music has no life. For me, sometimes it involves taking time to be in the outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the forest, or the ocean – and then the music starts to trickle into my mind in the form of ideas, styles, and more.

I think music is so much more than just an auditory experience. It’s visual, emotional, physical, and spiritual. I think the only thing it isn’t is physically tangeable but perhaps that will even change – maybe one day someone will create a virtual reality app where you can see, hear, and feel what a pianist experiences while performing a Beethoven Sonata.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

I think it has everything to do with the choice of music that is on a concert program, and how it’s presented. The Classical purist in me says “Stick to the format of the past.” But the modern composer in me says “Don’t forget to add some content that appeals in a more popular way.” And I know that is sometimes hard to digest for the Classical music world that have done things a certain way for so long.

When I put out an album, I would say 90% of the songs are ones I wrote and chose because I loved them and wanted them on the album. But the other 10%? Definitely there because of popular vote and what my audience wants to hear – even if it’s not exactly what I think it should be, or even what I think will do well. But in my experience, it’s the 10% that sometimes gets people in the door to one of my concerts, or attracts them to buy one of my albums – and then they stick around long after.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

One of my own favorites from my compositions is a piece that I wrote called “Eventide” from my Illumination album. When I wrote the song, I had an 11 month old and a 3 year old, and my husband was working long hours. So in the evenings, after the day was over and I finally had an opportunity to sit down at the piano, it was my time to relax, meditate, and wash the day away.

At the time, my piano was positioned in a big bay window where I could see the entire starry sky if I looked up and out. It was quite beautiful, and I found many moments of peace and tranquility from my late night piano sessions. This song came from one of those, and while it is a very simple song, it is very emotional for me. I orchestrated it with strings and choir, and actually right before I was getting ready to send it off to my mixing engineer, I was listening to it late at night while driving in my car. I kept humming the theme from Sheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov) with it, and eventually was inspired to add a violin solo to it that plays that theme. It was a perfect match – and just by the way, a great example of how classical music can be used in modern music in new ways.

The song has ended up being one of my more popular songs on Pandora Radio, and I still use it as an un-winding song in the evenings.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

Oh goodness, I LOVE them all. I feel like music is essential in creating an emotional presence, and brings so much more to these other forms of art as well. I have scored a few films and it’s amazing when a director gives me a cut of a film with no music and allows me to watch it and feel inspired and be able to add music to it that will hopefully have an impact on the audience in a certain way. I especially love music and dance, of course. It is one of the most beautiful combinations in my opinion.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Yes! Well for starters, I think perhaps young people have heard quite a lot of Classical music without actually knowing it.  From cartoons like Bugs Bunny (the use of Wagner), to commercials about beef (Copeland), or Disney films like Sleeping Beauty (Tchaikovsky) – they have already heard quite a bit but just don’t associate it with “Classical music”. This is a great starting point – to realize that Classical music doesn’t have to be sitting in a concert hall, or made to feel rigid or boring. It’s exciting, and beautiful, and there for the exploration and taking!

Again, I would also suggest finding modern artists who are using classical music as an influence and if they happened to find a particular song catchy or exciting, they can search more about that song and learn about it and listen to it in it’s pure original form. As I mentioned before, there are many of us Classical-Crossover artists out there who are performing Classical works in a new and modern way – and opening up the doors into this world for the younger generation who might not otherwise have an interest.

Also, lastly, I feel it’s important for younger people to know that if you do want to get into Classical music as a career, there are so many things you can do with it other than teaching or performing. When I was in school, it seemed to be the emphasis and I had to choose between them, but now there are so many more options from engineering, producing, and so much more.

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

Well, this is an interesting topic, and it might vary a bit for me as a modern composer/recording artist (so I can’t speak directly for Classical musicians). But yes, I definitely have experienced a “supply and demand” pressure – from making sure your album has certain content or criteria – for example, to meet a certain chart for placement on your debut release week. However, in my experience in the end it also doesn’t make too much of a difference. Whether one debuts at #1 on the Classical music charts, or doesn’t chart at all – it doesn’t win anyone an award, or make them more money.

There is also a huge supply-and-demand right now for cover songs, whether it’s a cover of a pop song, or a cover of a film soundtrack, or Broadway play. It seems to be sort of a necessity that every artist do at least one cover in their repertoire. I too have followed this trend on one or two occasions (I recently released a cover of the Prologue music from Beauty and the Beast). However, don’t throw rocks at me but this is a trend that I personally would like to see a little less of, and see more original content arising out of the woodworks. But again….supply and demand. And sometimes this is part of that 10% I talked about that gets people through the door, and hopefully afterward you can let them fall in love with your own original work.

More than anything, I think we as artists should really concentrate on just making the absolute best music that we can and staying true to our own artistic vision.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

I’m not sure I completely understand this question, but I’ll take a stab at it.  If you are asking me what, if any, expectations I have from my listeners/audience –and I think I speak for all artists and musicians, we just really appreciate those who genuinely appreciate what we are doing. The little compliments, a note, a message, an Amazon review outlining what they specifically enjoyed about a song. These things actually mean a LOT to us. People who go out of their way to make sure I know that the music I am “offering” to the world has an impact and is meaningful – gives me SO much joy and motivation to continue making more.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

Right now I am finishing up a project that delves into a new genre for me – as I’m working with a talented spoken word/rapper from the Los Angeles area. I can’t be quite certain if one would even classify it as “rap”, but definitely more along the lines of poetry being said very rhythmically. I have composed a very epic orchestral song, in which he has written lyrics and we will be filming a music video for it this summer. We plan to release it as part of the 4th of July celebrations here in the U.S.

I’m also re-writing and re-orchestrating one of my first originals (off of my debut album), which was inspired by the MacDowell 2nd Piano Concerto, and will be filming a music video for that this summer. We are hoping to find a beach where we can put my grand piano and film some lovely ocean waves.

And then for the remainder of the year until next, I will be turning into a hermit and saying no to most projects as I work on creating a new album that I’m hoping to release by mid-2018. One of the major works on this new album is a two-piano duet that I’ve co-written with a talented pianist named Kimberly StarKey. It is written in the style of a modern short double piano concerto, and we will be recording with the Ensign Symphony and filming a video for that as well early next year.

Thank you for having me here, it’s been a pleasure to talk about the Classical music world and how it is transforming, and also effecting me as a modern Classical composer/performer!

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Silvio talks about his creative process and the role of the classical music today

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What does music mean to you personally?

Such a huge topic!
Music has been a harsh emotional path that made me suffer for decades and at the same time alleviated that same pain. It was like an acid air: you need it to live but every breath was like a bite.
Then, in 2016, I realized that it was a mean to share universes that live and are in my mind and my heart, and the best shortcut I know to connect with my deep nature.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

If by fantasy we also include and mean transcendental aspects, yes! It is all about the fantasy of a lifetime, for sure.

If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?

This question is a real challenge for me to answer in a simple manner…
As many other artists, music does not allow me to live. I need to work. In that regard, I cannot consider myself as a professional musician.
Moreover, because I do not want to wonder anymore to know what I would be if…, I decided to do I want and become what I am. And neither time nor difficulty does matter because I am motivated. It’s a philosophy that forces one to be protagonist of her/his own life instead of being a simple spectator. And I also think that without it, life does not worth it to be lived.
And that’s precisely because of that philosophy that I started to compose music and was somehow convinced to share it publicly…

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

No, I am neither worried about the artists’ future nor myself as an artist whereas all difficulties. The reason is simple: artists are messengers and sometimes also message originators. So, they are aware of what they need to communicate to the audience. The latter is not.
And that’s precisely where I am concerned as an artist: if the society does not allow artists to live by practicing their art, how could people hope to evolve and have that precious enrichment? This is a real question that should interest everyone, that is to say from the single consumers to the economists, politicians and not only the legal experts or artists themselves.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Allow me to answer the second question first. All genres have their intrinsic features and history. On the top of emotions, classic music is, together with jazz music, the only genre that requires a certain level of intelligence, awareness, culture and/or knowledge, to understand it. In the past centuries, composers could express technicality without paying too much attention to emotions if they did not want to, because on the one hand, only a few could play, compose music and on the other hand one could only listen it during a live performance. So, I can easily imagine that every occasion to listen to musicians was an opportunity to be entertained. On the other side, those same listeners were also and somehow forced to make an understanding effort because the offer was not so widespread.
But, thanks to the evolution of technology, music invaded our lives, for our greatest pleasure. When a pop star sings, for example, lyrics (messages) can be easily understood and/or translated on the Internet. The question is: how many people are taught about what a symphonic orchestra plays? In our modern societies where people are systematically running out of time, how many read an explanation/analysis about the underlying messages or meaning of a work to know the finest shades of the music?
I do not have time myself…

And that leads us to the first question. I do not think that the role of classical music must change: what genre can pretend to enhance the general level of listeners awareness ?
Instead, the form should change and be consistent with our times. Some composers such as Messrs. Zimmer, Einaudi, Bergersen for example are all successful masters at different levels and in their own style. But as far as I may know they are all modern composers of classical music. And the public answers the call because their talent allows them to produce a deep emotion and to be understood by a majority of people.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

Challenges. And at different levels.
Without being exhaustive, I think that the dichotomy between old classical music and contemporary music is a controversial and sterile illusion, if not for historical or other constructive purpose.
Arrogant elitism should be abandoned. People and youth are clever.
Classical musicians should never be afraid of breaking classical codes (i.e. Mr. David Garrett) or magnify them with elegance (i.e. Mr. André Rieu) if it complies with their own style.
But there is another important aspect that concerns unknown artists (that is a majority). If it is true that the Internet allows more freedom to broadcast music and to be known, the quantity of produced music seemed to explode. And traditional actors that are still key in the industry – whatever we say – seem to have hard time to be exhaustive. And in that perspective, I do understand that they focus more likely on the most popular genres such as rock, pop etc. That’s precisely why your initiative and project are so interesting and make so much sense in the present context.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Yes and no. Creativity lives inside musicians otherwise they wouldn’t be what they are. Asking them to be more creative is a non-sense. Helping them overcoming some of their difficulties and/or weaknesses is more constructive.
That said, and on the other side, classical musicians must realize that Respect (for a work, a composer…) does not mean trying to better imitate what other already did. They should also avoid confusing working technique – to acquire more freedom- and stick to it in a scholar approach.
Once a musician has acquired the technical freedom and consider having a good knowledge of the workpiece, her/his duty is to interpret the music, perform it, let her/his emotions be publicly revealed in order to connect with the public and bring it in her/his universe. As a composer, I do not see a better and true honor than having a performer mixing some of her/himself, her/his emotions with myself/ my work in a unique and same time. I think it is the ultimate gift for everyone. That is magic!

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts?

Around the music itself, of course, plenty. If an artist wishes to reach out young generation, they must speak a language youth understands and likes. The question is: do classical musicians have the courage to go beyond the stereotypes (and if yes how far?) or do they rather feel better to stand in their comfort area even if they do not reach younger generations and go on feeding the same stereotypes?
The paradox is that by essence classical musician are among the best quality performers but at the same time that quality seems to enclose them in obsolete artistic schemes.
As far as I can see, rock, jazz, pop musicians seem not to have that kind of issue. They are master of making great business out of their own limits and stereotypes…
But in the end, the influence process will take time and have a marginal influence if the trend in tastes does not evolve.

How will you proceed?
Unfortunately, I do not have a general magic solution but a few considerations: use fantasy and/or humour to surprise, be inspired by other artist, do something unexpected during a (live) performance, in all cases give more than what you did the previous time and consider all ideas without exception. In the end, decide according to your own feeling.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favorite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

I do not have a creative process. I would say that my inspiration is a complex, fragile and unstable mix of feeling waves that must be caught and recorded immediately in order to not forget them.
If I think how John Cudlow came out… I remember I sat in front of the piano and started playing until I found the right grammar and orthography. But it was not the case for La Passione where inspiration came from my whole body and a source I could not define.
That said, I can isolate permanent features: feeling and fantasy (as per the previous definition) generating images, colors, perfumes… in my head.

My favorite piece is always the next composition I work on…
To be more transparent, I have a soft spot for Prayer of a Man – Gloria al Padre (op.3 n.3) that I haven’t yet published and finished to compose…

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

Not doing it would be a huge and terrible mistake. I like to be consistent with our times. We have so many opportunities to live new experiences, explore new paths, elude problems… We live wonderful times if we see all the opportunities it offers. Artists are meant to influence people and make other evolve. If this can be done by entertaining them in the best possible way, why not doing it?

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

I do not know if I am wise enough to advise them all…
Be curious, trust yourself and listen to your heart. No one on earth has The truth. Older people have more experience but it is not always for the best. Fresh opinions and ideas are more important than what they may think. Youth should be aware that in the end, what matters is what they really like not what others could think about what they like.

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree?

If that is the case, I would only say… At last!
We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?
If that time should ever come, the first question would rather be with whom…

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

No, no expectations. Only general advice. When you listen, think what you want but do not stop wondering and asking questions… I hope they will make you evolve and be of help.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

Yes, indeed. I would say that every composition is a new experiment and journey. But to be more concrete, for example, concerning a composition in progress, blues genre is going to tickle classical arrangement. But at the moment, I haven’t the slightest idea of how much satisfying the output will/could be as the song is only half written. I can only confirm that, if I do not find what must be said, I will not produce it.

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Greg Sandow gives insights into his art and explains why the music is powerfully expressive. He tells about a new trend in the US to bring music into the community.

greg foto sandow

What does music mean to you personally?

I have no idea how to answer that! But maybe I could say that of course music is powerfully expressive. Though that’s pretty obvious. Beyond that, I have two special, personal ways of relating to music. First, any music is in some way a construction. Sounds happen. Both horizontally (so to speak) and vertically. One sound after another, and also many sounds at once. How they fit together fascinates me. It’s something all kinds of music have in common — that sounds happen, and they fit together in countless ways.

Then, second, music is a powerful expression of culture. I’ve been involved, as audience or professional, with some powerful times when new kinds of music evolved. All of them expressing something new going on in the culture. The rise of rock & roll in the 1950s, the rise of ‘60s rock in the ‘60s, the emergence of minimalism in the 1970s and 1980s, the explosion of punk in the ‘70s, the rise of hiphop. Such energy in all of these movements! And quite apart from the new things in the culture that all of these styles expressed, all of them evolved new ways in which music was constructed. Heaven for me to go deep into all of it.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

I wouldn’t want to say what music is about. That varies for different people. But of course there’s a strong imaginative element in it! And if any of us want to call that fantasy, it’s fine with me.

If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?

I might have been a lawyer, or (something I’ve dreamed about) a filmmaker.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

I don’t worry about my future, since I’m 73. But I do worry about the future of the field. The audience is slowly slipping away. In Washington DC, where I live, big classical performances now routinely play to half-empty houses. So obviously classical music needs to change! And it is changing, but up to now I don’t think the changes have brought us to a place where classical music can sustain itself financially in new ways, and give many musicians a chance to make a living. Once that evolves, the future is ours.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

I think classical music will become a contemporary form of art and entertainment. it’s important to say that some of it will be entertainment, because much of it was entertainment in classical music’s past! That means that much of the music played at classical performances will be new. And it will sound and feel like the other music people listen to today, meaning that some of it will have a beat, and will be strongly blended with pop (in its many forms) and hiphop and world music.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

Since I’ve made a career of helping classical music find its future, I know many ways in which classical music is getting a new face. Informal performances, performances in clubs, musicians talking to their audience (which used to be just about forbidden). Blends of classical music and pop. And all kinds of wonderful creative projects, like one at the University of Maryland, in the US, where musicians in the student orchestra played Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun from memory, dancing the music while they played it! There’s a beautiful video of that on YouTube. I was at the performance. One of the most thrilling moments I’ve had in music.

In the US, there’s also a strong trend to play classical music in the community. This is valuable, because it takes it out of the concert hall, and brings it to people in the places where they live, work, and play. It also connects music with important social causes.

But there’s a bad side to this. Community service is wonderful, but it’s not the same thing as art. Art often challenges the world. If we always aim classical music to please a community audience, then we’ve lost our souls as artists. The artists who’ve most strongly inspired me —Verdi, Mahler, Bob Dylan, Stravinsky, in literature Proust and Samuel Beckett, in film Truffaut, Godard, and Antonioni — never did anything in the community. They made their art, and the world came to them.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Yes, classical music needs to be much more creative. One problem in concert halls and opera houses is that they do the same pieces over and over again. So a sense of routine sets in. There’s very little discovery in most of those performances. Everyone knows what to expect. This isn’t always true — sometimes a performance of a familiar piece can be a complete revelation.

The schools where classical musicians learn to be professionals are, as a rule, terribly uncreative. The musicians learn their craft. But they aren’t asked to think about who they are as artists. That’s a terrible loss. For me, of course music is creative. And of course, everyone has their own way of doing music.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

There are many things that can be done. Many things that have been done! But I think there are two very basic things to think about. First, the concerts should be informal. Or maybe beautifully designed, enveloping, with an environment created for the music. But the key is that the performance space should feel nothing at all like a classical concert hall.

Then, second, when we talk about the music we’re doing, we should talk about why we love it. We should be very personal. Talk about specific moments in a piece, and why we find them exciting, emotional, frightening, whatever. Talk about how we feel when we play (or in my case, compose). If we present our music as a personal expression, other people can immediately relate. They don’t have to know about the music. They just have to respond to our love of it.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

One of my favorite pieces — pieces I’ve written — is called Mahler Variations, played by a string quartet. It’s a set of variations on the beginning of the last movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony. “Set of variations” means that first the string quartet plays the theme, as Mahler wrote it. And then I write more than 20 short pieces that refer back to the theme in various ways, which in classical music language means that they’re variations on it.

I began simply by arranging Mahler’s music, which wasn’t easy! He uses a full string orchestra, divided into more than the four parts available for string quartet. So I had to condense what he wrote, somehow trying to make the same effect.

Then I got stuck! And repeatedly got stuck, as I made my way through my composing. I got so stuck, so many times, that I added a quotation from Samuel Beckett to the beginning of the piece: “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

One expression of getting stuck was that there are many silences in the piece, moments when the music simply stops. The final silence is in a way the climax of the piece. It lasts as long as the musicians want it to, but I suggest that it be at least two minutes long! After that, the way the conclusion of the piece grows out of that silence is (to me) just magical.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

Of course they work! And of course they’ve often been done. Almost any film has music on its soundtrack, pop songs have videos. Dance is most often choreographed to music. Maybe what’s new in our time is taking classical piece that are normally played just as music, and linking them to other arts. But anywhere outside classical music, that would be seen as a natural thing to do. So why shouldn’t it be natural for us?

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

They should never feel apologetic, because they don’t know classical music already. And they should never feel intimidated, never feel they need any special knowledge. All they need is open ears and an open mind. That said, it’s hard to know where to start. We can stream just about any classical music we want, but if someone doesn’t know about it, how can they find something they might like? And if they want to hear one of the great classics, there are so many recordings of each one! How can they pick? As one way through this, I’d suggest beginning with Steve Reich, Bach, and, for something truly titanic and enveloping, Mahler’s second or third symphony. For Steve Reich, I’d pick Music for 18 Musicians. For Bach, piano music played by Simone Dinnerstein or Glenn Gould. For Mahler, a recording with Leonard Bernstein conducting. This can be a start!

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

Well, of course we’re in the consumption business, and we always have been. People have to learn that our music is here, and we have to get them interested in hearing it. Words like product aren’t popular in the #classical music world, because we like to pretend we’re above these things. But if we want to have an audience — and, even more, if we want to make a living from our music — we have to understand that we’re doing business in the musical marketplace.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

I’d like my audience to be thoughtful people, who don’t normally listen to classical music. To be clear about this, I in fact don’t care whether they’re classical music listeners or not. I just want people with lots of curiosity and passionate interest, involving many things in their lives. But since most people aren’t classical music listeners, then if I want to have a representative group from the world around me, most of them wouldn’t listen normally to classical music. That thought also widens my horizons musically,.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

Every project is an experiment. I never know where they’re going to go, even if I think I do. So I’m always surprised. My upcoming project might be a simple arrangement of a lyrical excerpt from one of my operas. Turning it into a lyrical piano piece, which I hope Anna will play. But even this is an experiment, because I don’t know how to start it! The segue into this music, as it happens in the opera, isn’t possible in a short piano piece. So I’ll have to think of something new.

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Irminsul talks about his creative process and why the value of the art is more than a commodity.

What does music mean to you personally?

A celebration of the synthesis between dance form and instrument. The Saltarello is a historic Renaissance dance expressed by jumping to a downbeat, which can be done in groups. As I began this composition, that was pretty much it. But shortly, the spirit of the piano began taking over. It had something to interject into the dance, most certainly. So I let it. The result was a more developed journey through that dance, creating a bit of a short story.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Only inasmuch as fantasy can be a way to describe visualization, which is a vital part of magic. I believe that creating and performing music is a magical act.

If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?

A sculptor.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

No. I am constantly amazed and sustained, that younger people are flocking to classical music to a degree not even their parents did.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

There is a role, but it would be a mistake to confuse it with its role in the age of its birth. The world is no longer the political, cultural and sociological place it was then. Modern classical music hobbyists don’t so much play to the music, but the experience which motivated it’s creation in the past. The drip drip drip of a gloomy rainy Paris day that coaxed Chopin to write rainy preludes. Billowy shirts and quill pens, candlelight and parchment scores. Therefore it would be probably delusional to think that we are recreating this Great Age. However, in writing modern classical music we are pulling from the pool of that experience, and creating based on the tremendous spiritual energies that fomented the music the first time. That, to me, is the true Enlightenment.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what  would come to your mind?

Arvo Paart. He snatched the spirit of the classical era but gilded it in his own style and expression. He made classical, new.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Yes, it’s everything. Simply studying Bach counterpoint and reproducing it may give someone a head rush, but it won’t amount to art in the end. It would be derivative at most.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

By assisting project performances with younger performers. They usually go where others of their age go, and will show up to support them if they are performing. American Classical Idol?

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

For me it all starts with a melodic phrase. It might sound strange, but it must survive the “Night Cycle”. I don’t allow myself to jump up and write it. I sleep on it for one night. If I remember it easily the next day and it still moves me, it gets developed.
I do have a favorite original piece – “Fantasy For a Lost Grotto”. I was musing about the idea behind Debussy’s work “The Sunken Cathedral”. Something sublime, underwater and forgotten. A melody surfaced and quickly morphed into phases of itself, that ended up being a musical novelette.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

Sounds wonderful! I have been hired for years to play classical piano for local dance studios and their teachers, students and aspiring professionals to practice their “free form”. I know they also often use musicians to accompany live model art classes. It’s a wonderful idea to take much further.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Go to live local performances. They happen everywhere I have ever lived, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open. Classical music is a living art form and it still breathes if you stay aware. Attend several, hopefully of different styles and cultures. Determine what is a fit for you, and what is not.

 Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

Unfortunately that is true, and I see it as the inevitable crass marketization of our time. In visual art we used to call this “art by the pound [as a unit of weight]“. Many orchestras only plan seasons by the number of people they might draw rather than the more sublime value of the music they are considering. Composition “contests” are fleecing composers for the benefit of contests which rely on their version of “likes” or popular votes rather than the judgment of peers. We do live in the world of matter, and in an economy. We have to live and pay our bills. But, the great thing about art is it’s value as more than a commodity. The minute that it is seen that way, it dies as art.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

That they, at least, listen. They don’t have to like it, but at least give it an ear. iPhones off, please.

 What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I’m currently developing a three keyboard performance on the idea of The Lost Civiilization of Lemuria, something very popular here in my home on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Highly experimental, as it utilizes our island habit of music for meditative and visualization purposes. Audiences will often “trance out” and it may give you the wrong impression that they are sleeping.

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Cornelia talks about her upcoming projects, why she loves bringing people together and how to express the emotions through music

cornelia maleckie foto

What does music mean to you personally?

For me it’s the way to express my emotions and feelings about life. Music can say things words can never say.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Yes and no. Music can put you into a certain mood, creates atmosphere and emotions. And this special mood you are experiencing while listening to a certain piece of music stimulates your imagination. Songs or other pieces of music which affect me help me to be creative.
So for me music is first of all about emotion and atmosphere and then in a wider sense about imagination, creativity and fantasy.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

Since I was sixteen, there has never been another option than becoming a musician.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

The classical music business needs to make changes to attract a younger audience. Sometimes I think classical concerts are too conservative. I’m not worried about my future because I want some things to change, but I am wondering whether theses changes are possible as there are conservative people who do not support more modern ways of presenting classical music.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

New ways of presenting classical music are necessary today. I am glad and excited about the new ways and I hope the new face comes soon to convince younger people of the beauty of classical music.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

Playing the piano is my profession and passion. For me it’s absolutely important to be creative, for example to improvise and to compose new pieces of music. And I also like to experiment with new forms of teaching music. Besides the usual piano lessons I also offer workshops for classical pianists or students who want to learn to improvise on the piano. During the workshop six people play together and improvise. It is fun but at the same time most of the participants experience music in a new way because they are only used to playing classical pieces. Improvising can be very relaxing and you can express your emotions and thoughts in your own way. Mozart, Beethoven and other composers have been great masters of improvisation.
But also when performing the music of all the great classical composers, you have to be creative to interpret the music in an inspriring way. Who has to bring across the meaning and the feeling of the music to the audience? -It is the musician and he should perform the music in a way that the audience can experience his interpretation. I wanted to become a musician to do exactly this.
That’s why I firmly believe that classical musicians have to be creative to make their audience experience feelings and meaning of the classical music they play.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

First musical education is very important. I think more music lessons in schools, in combination with attending concerts or other musical events, would generate more interest in music. Presently pupils might learn the vita of a classical composer in school without really getting to know his music. Or they are taught to read music but do not play an instrument. What’s the point of this?
As a music teacher you have a big responsibility to kindle your students‘ enthusiam and love for classical music.
As a teacher I have decided to let my students choose the music they want to play in addition to classical compositions. If a student has reached the level to play for example the first movement of the “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven- I am pretty sure that he or she has fallen in love with classical music forever even if they do not go on performing music themselves.
We need more musical education for every child to awaken their interest in classical music and musical performances. But it’s important that tickets for concerts are less expensive than they are now.
Both ideas can only be realised if governments are willing to spend more money on the promotion of classical music.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) ? How did you start working on it?

My favorite piece is “Sonnenaufgang” – “Sunrise”. It’s one of my first compositions, full of powerful feelings, mixed with a little bit of melancholy. Like all my compositions I created it by improvising.
While sitting at the piano, I start playing whatever comes to my mind. If I like the tune and the idea I keep repeating it. To collect my ideas to develop them further later I have begun taking videos of my improvisations.
In the beginning all my pieces are improvisations. When I have reached the point that I am happy with them, I write them down. For example, my composition “Goodbye” was only an improvisation for a long time. I simply wanted to express my emotions- nothing more. When I wanted to record it, I i wrote it down and now it is one of my composition.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

They are fantastic. To be open to art in general is a very important aspect of my work as an artist.
I have performed at events which combined classical music and photography or paintings.
Combining different disciplines is an excellent way of making an impact as an artist. When we can do something beautiful together, we as humans should be able to live in peace, shouldn’t we?

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

The best way of learning about classical music is starting to learn to play an instrument. Another option is to search for the most famous classical pieces, from there go on and look out for the most famous conductors and performers. They are world famous for a very good reason. YouTube is a very good resource. Investing into CDs is also a good idea because of the quality of the sound. And finally look out for concerts.

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

While composing my music, the music is the only thing, I’m thinking about. The business aspect is of course also important to sell your songs or tickets for your concerts. Having a good management obviously helps a lot. Earning money is part of everyday life, so we as musicians have to think about how to promote our performances and products and what our business plan should look like.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

I do not have proper expectations. I simply hope that my audience enjoys my music, can share my emotions and thoughts.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

Yes, I‘m always experimenting. My next important project is the international “Climatekeys” – project by the composer Lola Perrin. She had the idea that pianists all over the world campaign together to raise awareness for environmental problems. „Climatekeys“ events combine
piano concerts with talks about climate change and climate issues. They will take place in autumn with pianists and speakers all over the world.
For Munich I have managed to organize some additional concerts, so we pianists can draw the attention of our audiences to environmental problems. I hope that the events will attract a huge number of people because they are directed at music lovers and environmentally conscious people. I really like the idea of bringing these people together.

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Oliver talks about why classical music should be played more often outside of concert venues and why music should get rid of the boundaries and how to write emotionally touching music

What does music mean to you personally?

Music means a lot to me. I take it as an inseparable part of my everyday’s life. I can’t imagine my life without music. Even when I’m not composing or playing, I’m thinking about it. Of course, not all the time, because you just want to make space for other things in your life as well, but music definitely plays a very significant role in my life. To me, music is the deepest of all kinds of art. It can touch your feelings in a way that no other art really can. It’s something untouchable, ethereal, and with endless possibilities. I must say that sometimes I even think that music is a living element just like water or fire. The way it connects to people is nothing short of a miracle. If there are such things as miracles, then music is one of them.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Yes I agree that music is for the most part of it, about the fantasy and imagination. Or shall I say, it’s a product of the fantasy and imagination. Music can very well reflect the thoughts, imaginations and feelings of a person who composed it, or even evoke the feelings and imaginations to the listener or the player. Music to me, is a very colorful, endless world of sounds. I don’t believe that music can be as much of an exact science such as maths or physics, althought It is closely related to both. You can have the rules to make a beautiful music, but you can also break the rules however you want and when you want, that’s just on your imagination. Who sets the rules anyway?

If you were not a professional musician, would you have been?

That’s a good question…I would propably still do some kind of art. I always loved to make clay or polymer clay sculptures, that´s still my hobby. My both sisters are very talented painters, so the art is something that is heavily present in our family. But if it wasn´t any kind of art then It would be something adventurous maybe. Or maybe an astronomer or astrophysician as I was always fascinated by the universe.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

I’m not worried all that much, I don’t even think about it very much. Yes, maybe classical music audience is getting old, but I think that film music-being one of the sub-genres of classical music(in many cases), is still having it’s golden era, and nowadays videogame music is almost the same, it’s a whole new field and world. As far as I know, people love to listen to the movie soundtracks. I’m from Slovakia and the concerts of Ennio Morricone or Hans Zimmer here, have been all sold out stadiums! So I think that people still love classical music and still have a deep respect for the genre, it’s just that some of the composition ways of the 20th century are harder to relate to for the audiences. We are living in the era of the internet and music streaming services, so the young generation now has unlimited access to any music they like, and they can have it for free. And as a part of this young generation, I have to adapt. So I’m using the streaming services, internet radios and social networks for the promo of my music, also the live performances…But my music in general, is rather easy to relate to. I’m not a very avant garde oriented musician and composer. I often get very nice feedback even from the people who never really listened to classical music before. I try to make sure that my music is easy and understandable for everyone, but not primitive.I also make sure that it’s colorful enough to be interesting for me too, because I want to listen to my piece and say „hey, that’s good!” I would say that it bends to film music a lot. So in this case I’m not worried, maybe classical music is not having it’s golden era, but it’s time to find ways to reach out to the new audiences! And also I’m composing a lot of different genres, including pop, rock, jazz, videogame music, film music etc. so that’s why I don’t stress too much about the future.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see
that there is a transformation of this role?
I think noone really defined the classical music of the 21st century yet. So everyone wonders, what it will be about. Where else to go? What will be the characteristic features of the 21st century classical music? I still think that even though so many things have already been tried, there’s still so much yet to be discovered. But in my case, I don’t really try to find any brand new compositional techniques. Instead, I try to find the the way to express myself in the old ways. I feel like there’s so much more to say this way, so much more melodies and combinations of harmonies and melodies. I don’t really think you can run out of ideas just using what has already been discovered. There are some melodies and harmonies that tend to be more moving to you, than anything else you’ve ever heard before and It will be always like that to me. People still need new music that will move them and which would be something they can easily relate to. You know that feeling when you hear a beautiful song or simply a piece of music you become addicted to, you want to listen to it all over again and you wish there were more songs or pieces like that, because you’ve over-listened the old one. And this is what I’m interested in. To give people the old music, processed through my feelings and thoughts, with new melodies and new original touch. But I think that just for the sake of being curious, I wonder what would it be like if composers try different tunings of the Instruments, that would be interesting to hear. What If we completely abandon the structural part of music and stop pretending that it’s as exact as maths? I also sometimes think that there’s so much more to do with rythm. Why does it have to be so exact? Why not stretching the beats for however long you feel like, and be very expressive without the timing limitation? I can see this could be a problem with ensembles, to get more people play this way, because everyone feels the beat in a different way. I mean rhytmically it would be something like in the nature. I have something going in my head, maybe I’ll try to record something like that just by myself to see how it works, because I’m used to catch up with myself without the metronome or an exact tempo. So I’m really curious of what the 21st century classical music will sound like, and who will be the pioneer of the new direction, but it’s important to me not to forget about who do we compose music for. If it’s music for the people, then we need to follow their needs. If it’s for ourselves, then we don’t expect to be paid by doing so, because it’s almost like an art just for the art.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is
getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

I just realized that I probably partly answered on this question in my response for the previous one haha. However, I think that either way the classical music of the 21st century goes, it will be heavily influenced by all of the great variety of genres that started their existence in the 20th century and earlier, because we are all influenced by it. We grew up listening to such music and so our musical thoughts naturally go that direction even if we try to change something intentionally. But i can imagine where else to go with classical music as I mentioned in the previous question.

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the
role of creativity in the musical process for you?
Yes I think we all should try to be more creative. But what does this creativity mean? It means a different thing for everyone. If being more creative means something what Schoenberg did for example, then I don’t think people need such creativity all that much as the history has shown…I mean, I respect what he did, he has shown a new musical way to the generations to come and changed classical music in a big way, but I personally think that this music is not very popular for many people. It deserves respect, but to me it’s not something that can emotionally touch you and make you fly, though, he propably didn’t mean to do that at all, his goal was different…But if being more creative means not to set constructional boundaries and just pay more attention to the beauty of the simplicity, melody and the moments, then yes, we all should be more creative. How often do we ask ourselves „isn’t this too simple?“ or „isn’t this too cheesy? What would my colleagues say about it?“ I think we ask that too often. We should be more creative instead and get rid of these boundaries. I think creativity is an interesting thing. Anything can spark your creativity. To me, it varies from piece to piece. Sometimes I sit to my piano and start to play something, and the creativity suddenly hits me and something nice results from that. Sometimes, there’s something playing in my head and i record it to my dictaphone when I’m walking by and then work on it…sometimes there’s music I like which inspires me to write something like it…I also get inspired by the nature, surroundings, situations, relationships, words, moments, feelings….anything can spark my imagination and creativity. And I’m also obsessed by the sea/ocean or the universe, because they seem to be infinite and that’s an undrainable source of creativity to me.

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the
classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

I feel like a part of the young generation of people since I’m 25 years old, but if we mean to attract the very young people, or people younger than me, I think we should try to understand why don’t they attend classical music concerts in the first place. To me, I grew up watching Tom&Jerry cartoons that especially my sister loved to watch. And there was plenty of classical music all around. That’s where I first heard “Hungarian Rhapsody” by Franz Liszt, “Sleeping beauty” by Tchaikovsky, “Carmen” by Bizet, and the list goes on. Also there were much more cartoons with lots of classical music in it, and then also movies an so…So as a kid, this was my first contact with classical music. And when you’re a kid, you get used to this and develop a kind of liking of that kind of music. And later, I somehow found my way to the classical music again, because I had these great memories of it from childhood and I simply loved the colorful world of classical music. So I think that we should somehow try to playfully show this music to the kids and young audiences. It should get a more mainstream media promo in a similar way that Hans Zimmer or Ennio Morricone had for their world tours, because even people who never attended any classical music concert before, were attending. Of course it´s a bit different situation because people associate their music with their favourite movies and so it´s easier that way, but still…I think that André Rieu does a great job with attracting many people to his concerts, even younger ones. Some people complain about the way he does it, but I don´t really see why. He does everything it gets to attract more people to listen to the classical music. And with new original music, for example take Ludovico Einaudi or Yiruma. They are both very popular also amongst the young people. They aren´t very popular amongst many classical musicians or composers, but again I don´t see why. I can see so many young people touching the piano just to learn to play “River flows in you”. Is that a bad thing? Hell no! It is a piano piece that speaks loudly to the young audiences and it makes the young people want to play the piano and go to see his concert. And once they develop this love for piano music, they are very likely to discover the music of Chopin, Debussy or Liszt…and then they will propably search further and discover symphonic music etc. so….there definitely are ways to attract new audiences, we just have to look for it. By the way I also think that classical music should be played more frequently even outside the noble concert halls. If the young people don´t go to see the concert, then why don´t we go closer to them?

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you)
How did you start working on it?
Haha good question! I have more favourites amongst my pieces, but If i really have to choose one, it would propably be „Ballerina“ which is also the title piece for my upcoming piano album. „Impression“ is the highest ranked in the prestigious international contests like for example the UK songwriting contest(2x Finalist in the instrumental cathegory) but I would still pick „Ballerina“. With Ballerina, I was sitting at the piano, playing around, and trying to compose a new piece of music and suddenly I got a melody and I thought It´s good enough to be further developed, so I was looking for the right harmonies to accompany the melody and when I was done with the main melody, I simply followed my instincts thgoughout the piece to make an equally good 2nd half. I was patient with this one. If I´m not forced to do something really fast, I usually take time to finish something. I compose more pieces at the same time and always get back to the one another after a short break to see what I´ve written before and see if I still like it, or I´ll change something. So it took me a couple of months to be fully satisfied. Like I said before, If i have to compose something really fast, I will do it, but If i have time, then I don´t hurry. I struggled to find a title for the piece so I was asking my family and friends and my mom once pointed out that one part of the composition reminded her of a ballerina dancing, so I thought it would be just nice to name the piece „Ballerina“. Sometimes it´s harder to find a title for the piece, then to compose it. I always desired to write something that many people would love to play or listen to, something really memorable and moving, and I hope I succeeded with „Ballerina“.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different
disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art,
music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

I love the combination of music with other arts. I personally have been fortunate enough to try some of these. I worked for Pixel Federation company who is a major developer of online computer games, and I composed the soundtrack for their game Emporea:Realms of war & magic. It was a very nice experience since the game has 4 different races(Elves,Dwarves,Orcs,Undead) and I composed 4 tracks for each one of them. I also tried the combination with paintings and poetry at the same time, with a Slovak painter Barbara Prešinská, or I also tried the combination with the live reading of a literature, with a Slovak film director Jaro Rihák. I would personally love to try to compose for movies, that´s something I would really love to do in the future.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for
themselves?
If i could advise some great classical music composers of the past, It would definitely be Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Fauré, Debussy, Satie, Mussorgsky, Chopin, Liszt, Bizet and the list goes on…They are all time greats and the treasure they left for us is simply wonderful.

Now it is a common practice in the media to talk that the classical music is getting
into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and
demand rules and how to sell your “product” in your case your compositions. How do
you see it?
I´m not really sure what to think about that. I´m new in this business and I´m trying to find my way through. It´s true that people like Ludovico Einaudi for example, are getting the Classical music to the consumption business because it´s very well promoted and people love it and buy tons of his albums and he sells his concerts out. And there are more cases like him. And we also live in the era of internet and streaming so there´s another platform for the Classical music aswell. I think people still love classical music, and if it´s really true that it´s finding it´s way through to the consumption business then it´s great. But I don´t really know yet. I´m about to release my piano album „Ballerina“ soon, so I will see how it goes. I will also use many streaming services and internet promo just to get it to the people online. And of course, selling the CD in stores. And if the „supply and demand“ refers also to the projects that need music for it like movies or videogames, then it´s great too, because it´s just another way how to get the Classical music to the new audiences.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?
I thank so much to everyone who is willing to listen to my music or buy my music, so that´s the most precious thing i can expect from the listeners, thank you all so much.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?
I just finished the recordning of my piano album „Ballerina“ which will contain 10 my original compositions and 1 very interesting collaboration with a famous Slovak singer/songwriter Peter Nagy. On his demand, I re-composed one of his 80´s major radio hits so I´m very much looking forward what will people say. We´re also preparing a film music festival on 26.-27.10.2017 in Bratislava-Istropolis. My father came up with this wonderful idea and I am responsible for the dramaturgy and communication with the artists. I will play on this festival too. Our headliner-the great Eugen Doga, agreed to help me present my new album and I will also write a few pieces for the Slovak radio symphony orchestra for the festival. We have many interesting guests from all around the globe including the already mentioned great Eugen Doga who is a living legend of the film music and to me, he is like Ennio Morricone of the east. And now I´m also writing lyrics and songs both for me, and for other artists. Regarding the experimenting in my projects, YES! Definitely yes, because each new project is a new challenge and I love taking challenges, they keep you getting better and learn something new each time. I try to be a versatile composer and I love to compose different genres.

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Marco Mandurrino talks about the importance of enjoying the music, about the metamorphosis between mind and art and why music is the most universal language.

marco mandurinno

What does music mean to you personally?

Music for me is a language. The most powerful and universal language. Nobody invented Music, since its capability to translate emotions into sounds is connoted with human essence, so for me Music is the best way through which I can express my feelings and my point of view about life. To the audience, but especially to myself. I learned so much about myself thanks to the Music.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Not at all. This is rather true if we refer to its evocative sphere, but Music can eventually be real and tangible, when it celebrates people or facts. I think it is just a matter of art tools you are using to transmit your message through the Music. This makes the difference between fantasy and real life, like it usually occurs in a spoken language. The specific touch of a performer, or the effects required by an author reproduce the efforts to make appearing the idea standing behind a simple page of music.

If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?

Probably a novelist. I’m fascinated by all kinds of metamorphosis between mind and Art. In my opinion Music, being a temporary art, is more intriguing (as a composer, you may play with time…) but also a good book can dilate or contract your time perception. And this is an extremely powerful advantage, if you have a message to convey.

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21 century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

For sure our time is “rhythm-ed” by travel, work and facilities that would like to ameliorate our lives and that were absent when ‘classical music’ – strictly speaking – was conceived. This makes evident that today’s composers and performers must adapt themselves to their environment. This is a challenge. But the intrinsic meaning of classical music and, thus, its role in the present and future centuries should be the same as 200 years ago: create emotions by means of art and educate people to have patience, respect and cooperation.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that the classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

I think that, along the challenge just mentioned before, one important aspect is the appearance of Music in the present era. What I’m thinking now is the way to catch the attention of a specific (or, in other cases, of a wide) audience. Probably one of the most difficult activities to account for before perform a concert or, as in my case, before conceiving a piece, a theme, or simply choosing which instruments I’ll be writing for. The important fact, in my personal view, is to not denaturing the true essence of Music with artifacts or deviant messages that prelude to something different from what classical music actually is. How can we recognize the good intentions of an artist? If he/she sincerely enjoys his/her work.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?

I don’t have a favourite piece. All of them are different by intention and realization and each one has its own characteristic that makes it somehow unique. In general the creative idea starts from a given theme, if under commission, or from my personal inspiration. In the first period I tend to be isolated from the environment and other music in order to avoid any contamination. In this way I find my real intentions as artist and then the ideas usually come in a quite straightforward process. When the production begins to be rather copious then I use my scientific method to catalog and organize all the ideas and it is in this phase that I start to shape the general structure of a piece. Then the rest of the work is only a matter of handicraft while, at the very end, I start the last two or more reviews. I’m highly demanding with myself.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

This is one of the best ways to make clear and effective the message transmitted by classical music, in my opinion. I had some proficient experiences with art mixing (theater, opera, dance, music and reading, …) and each time I found my work really stimulating and exciting.

Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

Simply do not hesitate to listen to music you never listened to before!

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

My (possible) audience is always part of my creation process. According to it I choose certain instruments or particular effects. I could say that it constitutes an essential part. Also important for me is the reaction of performers. A piece is finished only after the first performance since I usually take care of the instrumentalists’ opinion.

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

Now I’m thinking to two big orchestral works. One of them should be for piano soloist. There’s no commission behind them. It is just an old project that I would like to finalize once I realized I’ve reached a sufficient degree of maturity… I like, for once, to have the opportunity of composing leisurely

 

 

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Kostas Grigoreas talks about his "soloist-composer" nature, how to be open to new ideas and how to use music tools to experiment with everything, without hesitation.

kostas-grigoreas_20120520112423

What does music mean to you personally?

It is difficult to answer. Music has been part of my life as long as I remember myself.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

I agree, but I think that fantasy cannot function without reality. Combining both in a composition or performance, gives the essential contrast that leads to musical excitement.

If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?

Probably an engineer, related to electronics. I love everything that is related with technology and I feel happy that I can use it to create, perform, record and promote music. On the other hand, if I was not musically talented, I would probably be happy as a recording engineer.

The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?

The music audience generally, is getting old. I think that most of the stuff that young people „consume“ now is far from what I should consider as music. I would call that stuff „entertaining audio products“ and I am OK with that. They are nice if you want to dance or (just) mention the problems of your life, but no, for me they are not the art of music. All these products are far, not only from classical music, but also from all other honest artistic music genres, like Traditional, Jazz, quality Rock and Folk, etc. The audience diminishes in every real music genre. It is sad, but it will pass…

What do you envision the role of classical music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?

Of course there is a transformation. The classical music performer is not anymore in his room practicing countless hours for the „one concert“. The classical composer is not anymore creating music „to be discovered“ some years later. Music technology and use of the internet has given new tools for everyday creation and performance. Reaching your audience is a completely different process, in comparison to the (even near) past.

When I say that classical music is searching for new ways or that classical music is getting a new face, what would come to your mind?

Classical musicians were never isolated. Absorbing ideas and feelings from other cultures and music genres was always an inspiration for all really talented artists. However, music from all over the world is now at our fingertips (and ears) all day long. It is normal that classical music should become more and more „open“. For me, that is a blessing. I can perform or create music as I want it, no obligation to be „tonal“ or „atonal“ or „serial“, etc. My artistic palette may include everything, without any guilt!

Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? What’s the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

I think it has been answered before

Do you think we musicians can do something to attract the young generation to the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?

I think that being honest and simple is enough. Young people don’t like the snobbish attitude in art. Of course, mixing sound with video, acting, dance, etc. can help to expand our audience. I like every creative collaboration of the arts. But I also like the simplicity of „just music“. To close your eyes and immerse yourself in music.

Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favorite piece (written by you). How did you start working on it?

It i not easy to answer. I have been a guitar soloist for all my life and I cannot „escape“ from that attitude. Quite a lot of my guitar works were created to be performed by myself. However, some of them proved to be more suited to my performer’s personality and they have become „mine“, and maybe I love them more, as I enjoy them through performance. Some were suited to others, and they „went away“. Generally speaking, I see my music from a distance. Maybe it is normal, as I am a composer that needs motivation to make music. Most of the time, that motivation is the admiration for others, musicians or groups that finally perform them.

We, Moving Classics TV, love the combination of classical music with different disciplines: music and painting, music and cinematography, music and digital art, music and poetry. What do you think about these combinations?

We are musicians, but mainly we are artists. Collaboration with other arts is an obligation and a great motive for creation and artistic pleasure.

Can you give some advice to young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?

To listen as much as they can to the work of the great masters of our art, composers, performers, maestros. To be open to new ideas and (if they are technically educated) to use their music tools to experiment with everything, without hesitation. Classical music in the 21st century is the only music that really has no borders. Think about it. You are free to create or be in any style you want. You can even create your own unique style, no need to be labeled as experimental, traditional, jazz, rock, etc.

Now it is common practice in the media to say that classical music is getting into the consumption business, do you agree? We are speaking about the supply and demand rules and how to sell your “product”, in your case your compositions. How do you see it?

You cannot create honest art following the market rules. Innovation can rarely become profitable. Fake innovation yes, all media are full of clichéd audio products labeled as „brand new“. Of course, a work of art can become mainstream and profitable when it matures. Nevertheless, I believe that an artist must be free from market rules. That is why I think it is necessary for all kinds of fine art to be financially supported, preferably by the state.

Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?

I think it has been answered before

What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?

I recently completed a recording project, a collection of guitar works by myself and other composers of the 20th & 21st centuries. Its title is „Kostas Grigoreas: Recording Guitarist”, and you can listen at

or buy at https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/kostasgrigoreas4

I am now recording some solo works, including my favorite guitar composition by Benjamin Britten „Nocturnal after John Dowland, op.70“. I am also preparing a collection of works by me, performed by various small instrumental groups. To conclude, I should mention that I like to make music for solo instruments or for small groups where each instrument „plays a role“. Probably, my soloist-composer nature leads me to that.

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