Diego Guzmán talks why it is important not to sacrifice the artistic integrity, how to find and define the creative voice and why the classical music stands the test of time
It is not only my profession, or even my preferred way of self-expression, but to me, music is the thing through which I feel the most human. There’s nothing else in my life that allows me to experience the depth of human emotion that music does.
Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?
Yes. And when it is not overtyly about fantasy, I believe it presents a fantasized version of the real world and our own lives.
If you were not a professional musician, would would you have been?
Hard to say! I never actually saw myself doing anything that wasn’t music, but given some of my interests I can imagine I would have been either filmmker or a political scientist.
The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?
I’m not that worried, aside from composing I teach orchestration to young undergraduate students and it’s great seeing how much interest they show in classical music, especially if you approach it the right way.
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 don’t know if there has been a huge transformation in the role classical music plays in society. On one hand, more types of popular music keep emerging, but also we now have more access to music than ever before through the internet, so I imagine it has more reach now than it ever has. There’s a good reason why classical music stands the test of time, and in my experience concert halls remain to this day as full as ever.
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?
What comes to my mind is that hopefully music by talented living composers starts to make its way to the concert halls, and into people’s internet playlists, to be heard and played alongside music by the great masters.
Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?
There’s always room for more creativity. One thing that I would like to see for sure in today’s classical music is the partial integration of some of the most contemporary or even avant garde extended playing techniques. That kind of sound experimentation really lends itself to all sorts of creative ideas. Sometimes it doesn’t work or it gets overdone, but I think it’s possible to find the proper balance between that and the sort of melodies that people enjoy today.
Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?
I think one that we can take as musicians to attract the younger generations is to make and play classical-sounding arrangements of pieces that they like, like popular pieces or pieces from games, movies and television shows. To present something familiar to them, in a different musical context, and then in addition to this, introduce our own original material. For example, video game music concerts are very popular today, and there are big symphony orchestras all over the world playing music from people’s favorite games (same with movies). People that might not otherwise go see an orchestra at a concert hall do so because they are famliar with the musiic. So hopefully in doing something like this, this audience will expand its taste and become interested in other kinds of great orchestral music that’s new to them, as an extension of what they already know.
Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?
Most of the music I write is to picture (film) so I usually try to make the music that best depicts what is seen on the moving image, which ranges from choosing which instruments to use to selecting the appropriate tempo, modes, keys, and texture. I do have a favorite piece of mine, and it’s called Rebirth. Contrary to my usual work, Rebirth is a 3-minute concert piece for full symphony orchestra that is meant to transport the listerner into a fantasty world that is both mystic and exciting. I wrote this piece during my Masters degree in film scoring, even though it is a concert piece. I knew I would get to record with an orchestra, so I took one of the best melodic ideas I had, a very short melody, and then I completed the whole structure in a piano sketch, which I then fully orchestrated. I had the amazing opportunity not only to record this piece with a 110-piece orchestra in Sofia Bulgaria, with some incredible musicians, but I also got to conduct it myself. You listen to Rebirth here: https://soundcloud.com/gurunexx/rebirth/s-fGOJd
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?
As someone trying to make a living making music for films, I couldn’t love it more. So far however, I have only delved into film. I would love to try my hand at making some music to go with painting or digital art. That sounds amazing!
Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?
Take advantage of the resources you have available today. Use the internet, go to YouTube and discover new music, and when you find something that you like, listen to the related music, whether it be more by that same composer or in a similar style. Go to a classical music concert around you, even if you are not familiar with any of the music from the programme. There’s something magical about discovering an amazing piece of music for the first time, at a concert hall!
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?
If you are looking to make a living from music, then I think it’s important to find a balance between the kind of music you want to write vs the kind of music that people will like to listen to. If it turns out the type of music you want to write is music that people like, then you are in luck. As a film composer, it’s a bit different. On the one hand I have to make make the music that the directors ask me and that will work well with their film, which is limiting in a sense. On the other hand, however, I get to use my own musical creativity to help tell amazing stories, and for better or worse, this is an industry, and you are technically selling a product into a market. I think that as long as you don’t sacrifice your own creative integrity, then all is well.
Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?
As someone who is interested in making film music, I hope that as I move along with my work, I can work on films that I can relato to, from a storytelling point of view. From that, I hope I can find or define my own musical voice, and have that voice be what attracts my listeners, whether it is on films I work on, or other music that is not for film, like concert works or works for other mixed arts, like paintings, theater or photography!
What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?
Right now I’m beginning to write the music for a zombie feature film based in Ireland, which is something I’ve never done before, so I’m excited!