Christopher Fairman

Composer

Australia

Author

About

Biggest inspirations: Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Einaudi, Zuckerman

I began learning piano from my mother at age 10 and practiced on my own until age 14 when I had my first piano teacher. I was taught basic piano theory and a few techniques before I decided to grow my skills on my own. I learned more advanced music theory through high school, and also decided to begin playing the cello.

In the last 6 years, I have played both piano and cello in orchestras, and musical theatre productions. Over the last few years I became more interested in piano composition rather than performance and have dedicated more of my time to my composition skill set. In the future, I plan to further advance my piano performance and compositions skills, and possibly make a career out of these.

Videos

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

For myself, music is a creative platform. It lets me express my ideas and emotions in a way that is so diverse and versatile. I really feel as though I can be myself when playing and creating music, and I try to portray that in my compositions.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

I would not say that all music is about fantasy. Music has such creative freedom that a person could create anything, truth or fantasy. While it is true that much music today is made with the intention of creating a new world of listening, I like to connect my music with my emotions and create pieces that reflect myself and the person I am.

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

As a kid, I always wanted to be a pilot. Today, if I had the opportunity, I would love to study space, and maybe one day become an astronaut. Just like music, space is limitless, and I find that to be very enticing.

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

Classical music will always be a part of history. Today’s music could not exist without the groundwork of the musicians of the past. There will always be interest in classical music throughout the generations (after all, here I am), and although the audience is getting smaller, I cannot see a future without it.

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

I believe that music today is very much centred on a need, such as TV/Film or even as an emotional outlet. In the past, music was very much a form of entertainment. Today, we are more interested in the meaning behind the music we hear, and the different ways we can use it.

Do you think that musicians today need to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?

In my opinion, there is a pattern to modern music. It’s clear to me that many musicians follow these patterns because they are accepted and popular among youth. There is a part of me that resents these patterns, as it’s my belief that music should not be made with the intention of making money. However, if the musicians themselves are happy with the music they are creating, I don’t see it as an issue, since music means something different to everyone. For myself, creativity is key. I personally hate the idea of following a pattern (although it’s hard not to, and I have on many occasions) and I try to weave in new techniques and new ideas wherever I can.

Do you think musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?

I think with today’s society, it is very hard to get young people to do anything outside their comfort zones. As a young person myself, I’ve tried and failed many times to get my own friends into the classical scene. Mostly because they don’t think they could grasp the idea of music. With enough time and effort, anyone can learn music and adapt it to themselves and what they want. I believe that’s what the younger generation need to understand; music can be whatever you want it to be.

Tell us about your creative process. What is your favourite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?

My creative process is very sporadic. Because I use music mainly to express my feelings, I can only create music when I feel like it. I cannot force myself to create something that I’m not happy with, and I find it difficult to express myself if I have to stick to rules of any kind (specifically Bach-era music). I’ve actually fallen out of practice myself due to my personal life taking up so much time, but much of my music is based around my level of skill on the piano. My favourite piece at the moment would be “Ineffable”, which I published in March 2018. In order to create this piece, I remember sitting around at my piano for hours, experimenting with different melodies and progressions, waiting for something to jump out at me. Eventually, I wrote the first bar, and based the rest of the piece around that idea. I experimented with different harmonies and after many hours of editing, I finished the piece. The main inspiration for this piece was actually my friends that I had at the time. I can’t remember ever feeling happier. Because of this, I dedicated the piece to a good friend of mine, and presented it to her as a birthday gift.

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

My biggest piece of advice is to listen to as many pieces as you can. Find something that resonates with you and start there. Once you feel comfortable, experiment with your own ideas. I believe that experimenting and knowing yourself and what you like is the best way to go about learning classical music.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

Depends on the piece. For example, I designed my etudes each around a melodic and rhythmic idea. I had to make them challenging to play, but easy to listen to. So, for this purpose, I had to think about my audience. For many of my other pieces, including my current projects, I really only compose according to my own feelings and my own limits.

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

I am currently working on two projects. They are coming along very slowly, as I barely have any time to myself due to work, however I will be uploading them to musescore once completed. I am also currently planning a set of pieces for solo piano where I combine classical and modern ideas. I am constantly experimenting within my pieces, trying to find which melodies and harmonies I am happy with, and best suit the piece. I believe this is the best way to grow your skills