Jose Luis Turina is Spanish composer, grandson of Joaquín Turina. He talks about why experimentation is very important in every creative work and why composition is an act of balance between the composer and the path that music itself wants to follow...
The best vehicle to transmit emotions.
Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?
Given its subjectivity, music is probably the art more connected with other disciplines, both artistic and technical or scientific (poetry, dance, cinema and theater, language, architecture ...). Why would not it have a strong connection with fantasy?
If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?
Apart from music, I have always been interested in linguistics and psychology, so I probably would have dedicated myself to one of them.
The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about your future?
If the question is about my future as a person, getting older is not something that worries me since it is something that every human being must accept naturally. I am more concerned about the fact that, as they grow older and disappear, the audience is not being replaced by a younger one. But perhaps the problem is not that the young public is not interested in what was being done, but in that we believe that, because it was done, the young public has to be interested. I think that no deep reflection has been made on this.
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?
Without a doubt, and the answer to the previous question partly answers to this one. We are necessarily in a moment of great social changes, and classical music and everything that surrounds it must know how to adapt to them. But it is very difficult to predict what its role will be during the century.
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?
The first thing I think is that these new ways or that new face are taking very superficial forms, creating a false appearance trying thereby to reach more people. Nor do I believe that the solution is to radically change the repertoire and replace it with film music, which however well composed it may be, cannot be the basis of serious programming.
Do you think that the classical musician today needs to be more creative? Whats the role of creativity in the musical process for you?
The musician, whether composer, director or performer, has to be creative, and that is the basis of the musical process. I do not conceive it otherwise.
Do you think we musicians can do something to attract young generation into the classical music concerts? How will you proceed?
With a radical change in musical education, especially in childhood, giving it a greater presence in the curricula and in a way that audition and musical practice lead to an authentic enjoyment of music, and not a museum rarity which must be attended once a year.
Tell us about your creative process. Do you have your favourite piece (written by you) How did you start working on it?
For me the most important thing is to have a very clear idea of what I want to do, and elaborate it in my mind during a more or less long period. Once the idea is clear I start to write, and then the music that is emerging is changing the contours of the initial idea, but never to the point of making it unrecognizable. Composition is an act of balance between what I want to write and the path that music itself seems to want to follow on its own, and that is the most exciting aspect of the creative act.
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 agree with all of them, because I have practiced them throughout my career. As I said above, music has the ability to adapt and connect perfectly with very varied disciplines.
Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?
That they forget the prejudices that a bad (or null) musical education may have brought to them.
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?
Obviously it is a great risk that is difficult to escape, and that is directly related to the ambition to succeed, earn money, etc. This is especially true in the case of conductors and performers, but not so much in the case of composers, although it is also true in many cases (not mine, since my way of earning my living is not composition, and therefore I can write with complete freedom).
Do you have expectations what regards your listeners, your audience?
My expectation is that when they listen to my music, some of the enjoyment I have had in writing it comes to them.
What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?
To retire from my current job as artistic director of The National Youth Orchestra of Spain, and dedicate all my time to composition. And of course, in this the experimentation is continuous, as in every creative work.