Nik Riedel

Composer, Performer, Arranger, Student, Educator

Kazakhstan

Author

About

Nik Riedel is a composer, arranger, and pianist born in a small town of Kazakhstan. His music journey started in the early childhood when he first began singing and playing guitar. He wrote his first piece at the age of 8. The well-trained relative pitch allowed him to compose and arrange music on the fly, right inside of his mind. After graduating from a local music school he deepened the relationship with music and continued composing but in a more classical/romantic fashion. His writing style is quite resonant with late Romantic Russian music. "My music is a representation of my own emotional journey and maturing process. It's like a life story and a doorway to what happened to me in the past. If my mind could make sense of this music back then, I would probably be blown away by the intensity of it. The art of creation has allowed me to process and resolve my experiences in a non-biased and non-judgmental way".

Sheets

Interview

What does music mean to you personally?

Well, for me music is a powerful tool for emotional expression and storytelling. It is a non-linear universal language which comes in different shapes and layers of dimensions. It can be understood directly without any knowledge as it speaks directly to your heart.

Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?

It really depends on what meaning of the word "fantasy" you want to emphasize. For me music is a fantasy itself. But it can be just about anything I believe. Just like the 90's Rap music was about social injustice, when certain social groups have had a hard time living in this world. For them, music was sort of a mental oasis, where they could escape from harsh reality and express their feelings and thoughts. But It really depends on the composer, how he perceives the world and himself.

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

For me it's digital art. From simple drawing to 3D-Art and modeling. It was something that I was always interested in, but wasn’t investing much time into it. I couldn't find myself working in the society however, since I've grown in a really harsh environment and an area where there's not much to choose from. I still can't see myself fitting into the society that I currently live in.

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

Who told you that? I’m seeing the exact opposite. Just look at all those YouTube piano channels with "Synthesia" style performances for example. Some of them are booming with millions of views all over the internet.I'm excited about the future! The fresh blood is coming. Just you wait!

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

Yes, indeed! There's a profound transformation taking place, I can feel it. There will be all sorts of musical geniuses raising up to the surface of our attention. Just look at Jacob Collier for example, he's one of them.

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

Sure, we need to be more creative. Art is a never-ending cycle of evolution and improvement. The most important thing in the musical process is the ability to channel what's in your head directly without any distortions and mind-games with yourself. Being too harsh and critical of your art hurts the creative process badly. And this is where our musical "knowledge" might get in the way of creating real masterpieces. The judgemental nature of the human being often becomes a real obstruct to our creativity.

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

Sure you can. Just make it more engaging and entertaining. I would find ways to present it in a new and fresh manner.

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

Well, I'm a "Go with the flow" type of guy. Whatever rings in my ears gets instantly converted into an audio software and develops like a blossoming flower in almost no time. I don’t usually depend on musical knowledge and it is often left behind as it may cause resistance in my head and delay the process. I don't usually judge myself if something sounds too off, and when it does I just laugh at it a bit and remove, then go with whatever feels right. Patience. Coherence. Proper rest. No rush. No panic. No forcing myself to do stuff. My latest work - Sonata-Fantasy is my favorite at the moment. The piece was created in the exact way that is written above.

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

I'd suggest to not take music seriously. It's an art, not a sports game or a math class. Take a couple of deep breaths and drop all your preconceptions before you listen to anything that is considered to be classical. Be more open-minded.

Do you think about the audience when composing?

No. I write stuff particularly for my liking. But sure, I can't just leave my works without being published since sharing is in human nature.

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

I'm currently working on a project which is designed to promote classical music on a broader scale. I can't really explain the details publicly, but I'm looking for a passionate 2D / 3D animator for this project. Concerning my original works; there’s not much to say… it comes and goes. Only God knows when I’ll be working on another piece, hehe.

Nik Riedel - Piano Sonata - The Mystic Garden