Composer and performer



Music is a celebration of the synthesis between dance form and instrument. I believe that creating and performing music is a magical act.

IRMINSUL is a native of the state of Utah (USA) and has also lived in Colorado, Vermont, Virgina, and New York as well as in Japan and China. Playing piano from the age of six, he was largely self trained - learning his earliest performance pieces by listening to LPs borrowed from the library by a relative. In Junior High School he excelled as accompanist to choirs and madrigal groups, as well as in solo piano. His first performed original piece was an Easter Cantata, written for a local church, at age 16. By his late teens, Irminsul began his experimentation with bands of many genres, inculding prog-rock, punk, heavy metal, early electronic, industrial, hardcore, techno, trance, celtic folk, and world fusion. At age 34, he took up the celtic harp, again self trained, and quickly gained prominence in performing and composing for the instrument. He played with well known Celtic acts such as Idlewild and Stonecircle, recording several albums with both bands. At that time he vigorously played the festival and small concert circuit, and performed on more than one movie soundtrack. Later fusing the harp with his electronic expertise, Irminsul branched out to other music treatments - from dramatic to commissioned works, and began fusing music forms from other cultures and time periods into current projects.Currently, Irminsul divides his time between composing for piano and strings, performing his story/song shows, and perhaps his most important endeavor - pending time with his beautiful wife, Patti, their two cats, and a lanai full of wild birds.



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.