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. Up first, Barry Mills!
Thanks for being with us Barry. First up, are you a Brighton composer or a composer that lives in Brighton?
I am a composer who lives in Brighton. I was born in Devon.
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 always sketch out the shape of the whole piece first and when this feels well balanced I start to work on the details.
When you compose, who do you think of most: the performers, the audience or other composers?
I am just purely trying to write the best music I can when I compose, but I am concerned about communicating with performers and audience.
What is your favourite piece of your own work and why?
I don’t have a favourite piece of my own music as I am always 100% concerned with the piece I am working on at the time.
Do you consider blogs (such as this one) a useful way of interacting with your audience?
I don’t know anything about blogs!
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)?
Many other composers have been powerful influences on me. Debussy, Ravel, Ligeti, Bartok, Messiaen, and Webern. English and Irish folk music has also been an important recent influence.
Describe Riot Ensemble’s Artistic Board Member (and NMB composer and performer) Adam Swayne in three words.
Hard working, Passionate and Generous.
Have you ever participated in a Riot?
I was at the Riot Ensemble’s Transatlantic Collaborations concert in Brighton earlier this year. Does that count?
It sure does Barry! We’re looking forward to your music on the 31st!