A few (brief) moments with Thomas Adès

Photo by Brian Voce

Photo by Brian Voce


As you’ll know by now, we’re interviewing some of the composers featured in our first concert of 2014, which takes place this Friday at Club Inégales.  So far we’ve spoken with Richard Causton and Joanna Lee, and tomorrow we take a few moments with Alastair Putt.  We did also send some interview questions to Faber Music for Thomas Adès.  

Though Mr. Adès doesn’t normally answer questions, he did give us a few brief replies which we thought our readers would enjoy.  The interview is below!

Riot Ensemble: The Lover in Winter is – as with many pieces in this concert – your first published work.  I’m sure, though, that you wrote many pieces before this ‘first’ one.  How does a composer decide when to start keeping works in their catalogue?  Have you kept every pieces written since The Lover in Winter in your repertoire?

TA: Not my Aubade, but almost everything else.

RE: You are active in contemporary music as a composer, conductor and pianist.  Does your work as a performer affect the work you do as a composer?

TA: I’ve not really ever noticed.

RE: Do you change/revise your pieces after they are performed?

TA: Sometimes.

RE: Looking back from where you are now, do you recognise elements of a ‘personal style’ in The Lover in Winter?

TA: Yes.

RE: Do you think it is important for a composer to be searching for a personal style?  How have you guided the students you’ve taught to seek this out?  

TA: I have never really taught.

RE: Do you have advice on how a young composer can achieve or go about this?

TA: No, I don’t really know. 

RE: When does the idea of a ‘personal style’ simply give way to self-repetition?

TA: It can do. 

Number Ones: An Evening of Beginnings

At Club Inégales on Friday 24th January. Bar open from 7pm, music in two sets from 8pm.  We take a look back at where a number of today’s most exciting composers began, with first pieces from Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Adès, Amy Beth Kirsten, Luciano Berio, Richard Causton and Joanna Lee.  We’ll also have additional wind quintets by Harrison Birtwistle and Alastair Putt.

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Breathe AHR: Painting Music 1

A new series of free lunchtime concerts in collaboration with Breathe AHR sees The Riot Ensemble’s principal players accompanied by a live visual artist.  The first of these – at 1:00pm at St. Thomas’ Hospital concerts sees Artistic Board members Brian O’Kane (cello) and Claudia Racovicean (piano) present works by Augusta Read Thomas and Thomas Adés alongside Brahms’ second cello sonata.

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