Every year, we run our Peter Reynolds Composer Studio for six emerging composers. The scheme offers a week of intensive learning and a chance to have work performed by leading musicians.
This year was a little different, but the participants were still able to have their pieces recorded by piano-percussion duo Siwan Rhys and George Barton at home.
To help us get to know them a little better and tell us more about their compositions, we interviewed this year’s participants. Next up is Daniel-Wyn Jones with his piece Ghosts:
1. When did you first start composing, and what made you pursue it?
I began writing music when I was 11 or 12 for the bands I played in. Growing up I loved playing in bands of a variety of different genres. I played in Bass guitar in a metal band, guitar in a pop band, drums in a dance band and a few other things in other projects. Pretty much play music with whoever was around in any style. In school I did a GCSE in music but could not read western traditional scores so I kind of inputted everything by playing into the computer with the keyboard. I suppose I wrote my first scored piece at University. I guess I continued writing as it brought me great pleasure hearing my ideas and energy expressed in sound.
2. What is your most memorable musical experience?
There are too many to list here. I cherish a tonne of musical memories including my first jam session, my first gig, first mosh pit, first rave, first folk session, first classical concert (The Carducci Quartet played whilst I was studying at Cardiff University) and experiencing a long list of incredible bands and works first hand are very fond memories.
3. How do you know when a composition is finished?
Intuitively. I will delisted to a work until it ‘feels’ right. This generally focuses on structure and pace. When the piece is finished I can listen to it through without itching.
4. Would you say you mostly consider your audience or your players when composing?
It is essential to write appropriately for your players. Ideally I can write in collaboration with the players for a stronger work. I’m not sure I write for the audience. I write to best support and represent the work itself.
5. When you compose, do you have an idea of a story or concept that you want to express, or is it more abstract
Generally I have an idea I would like to express however the idea may be a musical one without wider meaning. For example, how could I write a piece that only uses one technique? Other times I will base a piece on a specific feeling or internal idea.
6. Which composers have had the biggest influence on your music?
When I’m asked to recall composers who have influence or are my favourites I can’t however I would like to take the time to express that my biggest influences are not composers alone. I love art. As much as I can I consume works from a range of mediums. Music (popular and classical), experimental literature, modern dance, visual arts, theatre and performance art are all extremely important influences on my work. My tastes are generally modern and prefer works from 1950s onwards. As new as I can find.
7. Can you tell us about the piece you worked on with George Barton and Siwan Rhys for the Peter Reynolds Composer Studio?
The piece explores an idea of daily burdens and the need to acknowledge endings however small. I’ve come to realise one will carry things to the end of days unless one actively decides to put these things to bed.
Daniel-Wyn Jones – ghosts.
8. What are you looking forward to about rejoining the Scheme next year?
Hopefully experiencing live music. Especially after a year of deprivation. Experiences new work with like-minded folk is always a joy. As is the opportunity to work with performers on creating new work.