We’ve got a concert coming up this month at the Friend’s Meetinghouse (in Brighton) where we’ll be recapping some of our favourite pieces of the 2013 season and also playing some pieces by composers from the New Music Brighton collective. We’re gearing up for the concert by asking the NMB Composers the same series of questions, so you can get a feel for who they are and what they do. The fourth interview in our series: Guy Richardson.
Thanks for being with us Guy. First up, are you a Brighton composer or a composer that lives in Brighton?
I live in Brighton. I was born in Zimbabwe, moved to England aged five and lived in Eastbourne, Brighton while at uni. I moved to London to do some teaching, then returned to Brighton in 1979.
Could you give us a little insight into how you compose? (Do you have a set time you work at? Do you write at the piano? Etc…)
I try and keep to a regular time slot which is ideally from 7.30am to 2.30pm Monday to Friday and most Sunday mornings, and Saturday mornings in the holidays when I’m not teaching piano and have a deadline to meet! I work out my melodic ideas and try and develop a feel for the harmony away from the piano then work out the details on the piano.
When you compose, who do you think of most: the performers, the audience or other composers?
The performers in terms of whether a passage lies well on an instrument or how singable it is if for voices. The audience in terms of how clear the structure of a piece is, or whether a passage needs to be extended to make more impact, or whether a passage goes on for too long!
What is your favourite piece of your own work and why?
A very difficult question; often it feels like the piece I’m working on at the moment, if it’s going well!
Do you consider blogs (such as this one) a useful way of interacting with your audience?
Yes. Any communication which helps break down the barriers is good.
Have you ever had an experience similar to Witold Lutoslawski’s: When he heard John Cage’s Second Piano Concerto on the radio, the encounter changed his musical thinking and ushered in a new creative period (the first result of which was his Jeux Vénitiens)?
Hearing Charles Ives’ music for the first time many years ago, was a revelation.
Describe Riot Ensemble’s Artistic Board Member (and NMB composer and performer) Adam Swayne in three words.
Lively, Passionate, Humorous.
Have you ever participated in a Riot?
No, but I have been involved in anti nuclear weapons demos and arms manufacturers where things got quite hairy.
Thanks very much Guy! We’re looking forward to your music on the 31st!