Rami Al-Rajab

Composer, Piano Player, Professor for Music and Multimedia

Author

About

Rami is an enthusiastic composer who studied classical piano and classical music in the early years and 1st prize winner of the Qatar National Music Competition in category Composition. Rami got his master of film music and sound design at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg. Finally, he did his Ph.D. of Fine Arts at Arab Open University North America which is about “the thesis of harmonizing Arabic music scales which include quarter tones”.

Among Rami’s published works: Sug Al-Safafir in Fall for plucked instrument orchestra, Sama’ais Part 1 for Piano and a solo instrument, Messages for Piano, Penumbra for piano sextet, Fantasia Arabia (1st Prize winner) for Flute, Bass Clarinet and String Orchestra, 6 Arabic Dances for Marimba and etc.

Rami is recently working as an assistant professor at the Community College of Qatar for Music, Multimedia and Sound-Design.

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

I can’t imagine my life without music. Music is the air I am breathing. When I look at things surround me, my eyes interpret every little detail into music motives, as if there are a lot of puzzle pieces that are adding themselves together to form a piece of music art.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

Not really.

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

Logical and abstract thinking is one of my strengths. I always seek to find solutions for problems or challenges. Therefore, there is a huge passion for computers and software. I would be a programmer.

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

We should never give up. A spark of hope still somewhere hidden far in the universe. I think when we believe in it, there will be always a hope for 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?

Sure. Every century brings its own composers, writers, ideas, imaginations, materials and creation with it. Going shortly back in time, where C. Debussy started his movement (Impressionism) against the emotional romantic era. Also A. Schoenberg with his atonalism and dodecaphony and I. Stravinsky as a new classical composer (Neoclassical). Some other classical composers like G. Gershwin, L. Bernstein and M. Ravel implemented Jazz elements in their music and so on. Therefore, the 21-century will continue transforming and changing, since the human is creative and looking for new ideas and challenges.

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?

First thing pops up to my mind is the implementing of technology. Creating new compositional aspects to the classical music using new elements like the electronic sounds, experimental nature sounds (water and animals, etc.). Or maybe different types of music genre into one new style piece of art. The classical composers are always looking for new ideas and elements to vivid their compositions.

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?

Well, this is a good question. I think the classical musician have a very solid education in music and they are very talented as well. What I think they need to do is to be more open to other music genre, so that they can widen their perspectives and be able to play different types of music with joy and high efficiency. When you combine these elements, in my opinion this has a big role of creativity.

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

There are a lot of things to do in this matter. We need to listen to their needs and interests. We cannot only offer them one type or genre of music and wait for them to operate in the right direction. I can see and tell from experience that film and game music concerts that implements orchestra sounds and compositions are very well attended.

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

Sometimes inspirations and ideas come from just sitting on a sofa, while reading or watching a film with a cup of tea or coffee in the hand. Others come when I walk into a shop, in the park or just standing watching a child playing somewhere else. I remember one of my favorite pieces that I have wrote is JURI. It is a piece for orchestra which has modern elements and experimental music. It is composed for a short film JURI by Jan Raiber and about 10 minutes long. I remember Jan telling me: “Rami, make me something crazy and unique”. So, I ended up with it.

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?

Personally, I find these combinations of these elements are great. Music is flexible matter and can fit to everything. Why not having it combined with many other subjects. In my opinion this if fun, art, creative and special.

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

Listen to it carefully and use your imaginations. Allow your ears for new elements. Let your spirit experience the sound of the universe. The more you listen to classical music – not only western classical music – the more you are going to understand it, love it, interact with it, be open about it, feel it, decode the stories behind each piece of music and open your perspectives.

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, music is just like other product. As I said earlier, music is matter, since it is matter then it can be part of a business. And I do not mean the classical music only. Unfortunately, good composers need to survive with the overload of cheap music that is offered and produced by some “composers” around the world. Digital distribution and production of music make things easier for anyone – even without a musical degree – to compose, produce and sell music via the huge web and for very affordable price than to hire a well-educated composer to do the job. I think the competition is huge and the consumption business is even bigger.

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

I love my audience. I do not have specific expectations. My audience are free to like, listen, decide and judge whatever they like or dislike. I have trust in them, however, it would be great benefit for all of us if we widen our musical or art vocabulary to get better analytical criticism.

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

Four books are coming up and will be published by Andel Music BE and as follows: Messages for piano, 6 Arabic Dances for marimba, Penumbra for piano sextet and Fantasia Arabia for flute, bass clarinet and string orchestra.

Finally, I would like to thank Anna Sutyagina for giving us this wonderful opportunity and I wish her and her team all the best for the future. Rami Al-Rajab