shiva-feshareki-8-e1466601768353

Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music?

I’ve always been obsessed with making music. I was improvising with pots and pans when I was a toddler and a small child. I had set-up a station in the corner of the kitchen that I would use to experiment with sounds. Since then, it’s simply been the same idea but in different contexts.

Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?

My everyday surroundings, the spaces I occupy, and my friends and family are my biggest influences. My idols are Eliane Radigue and James Tenney.

What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?

I constantly re-shape and re-think the way I compose and the contexts and people I work with. All in all it is hugely rewarding, but it also feels like I am starting from scratch all the time.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a commissioned piece?

Challenges on working on commissions are making sure that the organisers and funders trust and respect your vision and don’t try to compromise it (although I do pick commissions carefully). The pleasure is having the space and time to be able to be truly creative on a daily basis and make a living out of it.

You’ve recently been announced as a London Music Masters Award Holder – tell us more about this?

It’s really amazing receiving this award, and it’s brilliant that it has been sculpted to suit each individual recipient in terms of the resources we receive from it. I have spent the last few years working in experimentation and as a collaborative composer; meeting loads of different people, experimenting in a whole host of settings, in different disciplines and different worlds, and constantly re-shaping and re-defining what I do. Thanks to London Music Masters, I now have the resources to refine my practise, and come back to my classical routes to compose a purely orchestral piece for the London Contemporary Orchestra, with a fresh new perspective due to all my explorations in other contexts.

I am also incredibly inspired by the creativity of children. Having worked in a variety of creative and educational settings with young people, and been massively influenced by the way they think, I am looking forward to applying my own ways of working with young people on the LMM Learning programme: I hope I can offer some interesting approaches.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working with particular musicians, singers, ensembles and orchestras?

I have this new rule now that I only work with people who are down to earth and easy to get on with, so that the creative process feels free and not rigid. I don’t really mind if they’re musicians or not, or what their background is, as long as they’re nice and we can form a bond. Only then can creativity flow and can we utilise each other’s strengths.

Of which works are you most proud?

I don’t really have a singular work that I am most proud of, but I am proud of the way I have grown immensely as a person and composer in the past year especially. I feel like I understand things more clearly and what things are truly important in life and art.

How would you characterise your compositional language?

Physical.

How do you work?

I try to change-up the way I compose constantly, so that nothing is ever on autopilot. Sometimes it’s with a manuscript, or at my turntables, or maybe I’m in a club dancing and composing at the same time. But my music is experiential, so I try to really mix-up my processes.

Who are your favourite musicians/composers?

I think my favourite artists are the people I have recently collaborated with such as Haroon Mirza. I am forever grateful for how he has transformed my attitude on art and experience.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Probably performing my composition for turntables and orchestra at the Roundhouse in front of the LCO way back in 2010. We were all so young and relatively inexperienced then, yet so much drive, commitment and a unanimous want between us all to take risks. It was incredible. I didn’t know it was going to be such a big gig. People were queuing up literally round the roundhouse to try and get returns when I was arriving.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

To stick to your ideas, have faith in them, and commit. Don’t waste your time getting frustrated. Go with the flow. Enjoy.

 

Shiva Feshareki (b. 1987) is a composer and turntablist working closely with the physicality of sound. With electronics, she focuses on sampling, as well as analogue and bespoke electrics that generate ‘real’ and pure sounds of electricity, over computer products. With acoustic instruments, she is concerned with the interaction of tone, orchestration, texture, movement and space. Since 2013, Shiva works mainly as a collaborative composer, and uses deep improvisation, explorations into different worlds, or chance events, to create her collaborative teams. She also works with children and young people in a variety of creative environments, and does seminars and projects at universities and music/art colleges.

A scholar and graduate of the Royal College of Music under Mark-Anthony Turnage, Shiva has awards ranging from the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, to British Composer Award shortlisted works. She has had performances at major UK venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Institute of Contemporary Art, Barbican, Roundhouse, and has had working relationships with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonia, London Sinfonietta and London Contemporary Orchestra. She also works in and around a variety of contexts and bespoke environments to create spatialised site-specific works. Additionally, Shiva has worked and toured with musicians ranging from cellists Natalie Clein, Oliver Coates and Colin Alexander, to video-gamer/youtuber Freddie Wong, jazz organist Kit Downes and artists Simon Fisher-Turner and Haroon Mirza. She sometimes DJs, and presents experimental classical music on NTS Radio in Dalston.

Future projects include a realisation of Daphne Oram’s groundbreaking work ‘Still Point’ for Double Orchestra, 78 rpm vinyl discs and microphones in collaboration with composer and Oram-specialist James Bulley. ‘Still Point’ predates the work of an entire generation of composers and artists in its radical use of live electronics (including turntable manipulation and sampling with live orchestra) and is one of the earliest known examples of a work for turntables and orchestra.

London Music Masters

 

 

r8a0839-2-web
(photo: Nikolaj Lund)
Who or what inspired you to take up violin and pursue a career in music?

This was an easy choice, everybody in my family was playing the violin. It was almost a “Mother language”. I HAD to talk this language if I wanted to be understood, or understand what was around.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

In my early life, as I said, my parents and my family, but then, later on, the absolute love of the music and the need to create sounds!

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

All the competitions that I have done were a great challenge till today. But I understand now, that the biggest challenge ever happens each time I come to play a concert for an audience who expects to hear something special, something they will remember; this is  very challenging!

Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?

I unfortunately don’t remember so well which concerts went well, but I remember very well the bad ones. I always try to recall what actually made an experience not so good, so that I know what to do for the next time. The greatest concert was probably a recital, where I felt the biggest connection with my partner. That was incredible.

Which particular works do you think you play best?

Probably the ones that I believe in the most. Meaning, when I study the piece in its context and the main idea, touches me. When the music, or its purpose doesn’t really touch me, I am afraid I can’t be sure of giving my best in it…

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I of course look into the big repertoire pieces that I haven’t played yet, and then try to combine them with maybe lesser-known pieces that fit well with the mood, character, and again touch me enough to be able to transmit it to the audience.

I always try to keep something that I’ve already played, so that not always everything is new!

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

I’ve discovered a lot of dry, beautiful and great sounding concert venues! Every concert hall for me has a very personal history: I simply try to remember every concert, and all the circumstances of each hall where I performed.

I enjoyed very much the Philharmonie in Cologne, because of the shape of the hall and its unbelievable acoustic.

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?

Well, probably the one I love to play the most is J S Bach, no surprises there. Simply because I always find new harmonies to underline, or listen to. The writing is perfect, so evident and clear, one always discovers more and more complexity in his music.

I would say my problem is that I sometimes want to show my “personal discoveries” too much, and then it becomes a personal fight:

What I want to show as personal intention / what needs to be kept natural and be played in a more “hidden” way. For this reason, I also love playing Ysaye’s music, where a lot is happening and there is rather more room for personal interpretation.

Who are your favourite musicians?

From the ones I have been listening to lately: L. Kavakos, C. Eschenbach, M. Goerne, V. Gergiev, M. Pressler, S. Edelman…

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

I believe that today it is becoming more and more difficult to hold on to the principles of “great culture”.  We are the people who have the chance to be part of it, we have a great but very difficult mission – we have to keep it alive. I really think that a great part of our humanity is kept in the Art, as much in the “understanding” of it, as in its “producing”. This is why new and young artists have to hold on to something that maybe doesn’t bring that much success, or money, or fame. They have to bring something much more powerful (and not to themselves) – feelings, happiness, support, unity, and thousands of images.

All those elements are the true benefits of the music that we are sharing.

You’ve just been announced as the new London Music Masters Award Holder, tell us more about this?

It is a very new episode of my life starting, and I am really looking forward to the fresh new contact with Great Britain! Passionate people, passionate musicians!

I will be given the opportunity to introduce my concepts of instrumental playing and music making to the growing new generation of people/audiences in schools, for example. I really hope that my English will be good enough for the people to understand some of my twisted notions!

What are you most looking forward to about working with London Music Masters?

Meeting different people, and learning from them!

Where would you like to be in 10 years‘ time?

In a place where there would be unlimited space for love, friendship, and where I could be in a good enough shape to make music on a very high level

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To be surrounded by truly honest and loving people.

What is your most treasured possession

Hum… Material possession..? Nothing… (Yet?)

What is your present state of mind?

In a very good mood.

Marc Bouchkov was born 1991 into a family of musicians. He received his first lessons at the age of five from his grandfather, Mattis Vaitsner. His first public appearance was just one year later. In 2001, he joined Claire Bernard’s studio at the Lyon Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique; he transferred to the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (CNSM) in 2007. There, he began studies with Boris Garlitzky, who has been his mentor ever since, and offers him invaluable guidance for honing his craft. The following years saw participation in master classes and invitations to festivals in Moulin d‘Ande, Troyes, and Bordeaux (France), Viterbo (Italy) and New Hampshire (USA).

Marc Bouchkov is the recent recipient of a London Music Masters award

Marc Bouchkov’s website

jackwhite1

Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music?

My parents and especially my granddad have always been very supportive and encouraging. My granddad always wanted to be able to play the piano and compose, but he wasn’t offered any opportunities to learn when he was younger. I think that’s what drove him to encourage me: he saw that I enjoyed it, and made sure I took all the opportunities I could.

Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?

It may sound obvious, but my parents. I couldn’t have been offered the opportunities I have been today without their help and support.

What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?

I think it’s important to learn how to fail ‘productively’. As a freelance composer you are never going to get every single opportunity you put yourself forward for. It’s important to try and remain positive. Take criticism on board where you think it’s fair, but remember that your music should ultimately be defined by you. There have been times when I have felt it was right to reject criticism. Knowing when to do this can be tricky to navigate when you’re starting out.

With every performance you get better at communicating the music in your mind’s ear to an audience. This process is a very personal one. It operates on many levels between transcription and translation. No-one can tell you whether it has been successful other than yourself. Do not be too self-critical when you make a mistake, because that’s how you learn.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a commissioned piece?

It’s great when you can shape a piece around a specific group. I always try to feed off the energy and enthusiasm of an ensemble when I write.

What have been your favourite aspects of working with London Music Masters as part of your award over the last year?

I think the performance of my piece “Flutter” in Festival Hall was very exciting.  I loved seeing the faces of the children after they had performed the piece, they looked like they had enjoyed performing it, and that was very satisfying for me.

Can you tell me a little bit more about how the piece came about?

I had the idea of using pieces of foil on the strings, to make the piece a bit more fun for the very young performers.  This came from the idea of music’s transformative power which has the possibility to effect change in people’s lives. The piece was written for beginner string players and a choir, so this idea became part of the chorus: “Music is a butterfly, filling the air with something you can’t buy, because
it makes my heart-beat flutter”.

What feedback did you receive from the piece?

Well it was lovely to hear that the piece had been well received by the LMM teachers who said that it was aimed at just the right level without being too simplistic.  I also had a few parents come up to me to thank me after the concert. One mother said that her child had been singing it all the time, so I apologised as you may expect!   When I was writing it I structured the whole piece around the simplest part (just using open strings) and built it up from there. I think this approach worked well rather than taking the hardest part and working back.

You’ve also been writing for a YCAT artist as part of the award, can you tell us who it is yet?

Yes, it’s the trombonist Peter Moore.  I was very excited to have the opportunity to write for such a talented performer.

What have you written for him?

The piece is called ‘Three After-Dinner Pieces’.  It’s in three movement and each is based on a different type of cheese.

Cheese? Tell us more about this….

I am a big fan of cheese in all it’s different variety.  I work part time in a cheese shop in Cardiff called “Madame Fromage” and I thought it would be a unique way of structuring a piece. My ideas have come both from the physical form and taste of the cheese, and its country of origin. For example, in the first movement (Stilton) the mouldy striation reminded me of unsynchronised fanfares, which have become part of the texture of the work. Similarly the viscosity of Epoisses has allowed an exploration of glissandi effects in the trombone part.

Which cheeses did you select for your piece?

Stilton, Caerphilly and Epoisses, the last of these being my favourite.

Are you pleased with the piece?

Yes, I haven’t written for the trombone as a solo instrument before, and Peter is such an excellent performer with an amazing expressive range that I wanted to write something to show this off.  I will be looking forward to the premiere very much.

When is the premiere and where will it be performed after that?

27th September in Colston Hall, Bristol, with the first London performance on October 3rd, in Wigmore Hall. I am also lucky to be able to conduct some workshops around this performance in association with LMM. We will be visiting schools to talk about the writing of the piece.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have been commissioned to arrange a recording of Satie’s “Parade” for National Dance Wales, in a performance about the Russian revolution.  BBC NOW are recording the piece in early September so I will have my work cut out for me to get everything ready in time for the performances on 25th Oct in Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff and the 29th in Pontio, Bangor.

 

Of which works are you most proud?

I love the recording of my BBCSO orchestral piece ‘Digital Dust’. Also, the multi-part choral piece ‘Islands (Ynysoedd)’ I wrote for what became a celebration of Sir John Tavener’s life in Southwark Cathedral, following his death. More recently I wrote a piece for Côr Aduniad called ‘We Have No Right To The Stars’. This is a translation of a poem by Hedd Wyn, and I think it’s one of my favourite choral settings to date.

How would you characterise your compositional language?

I like to describe my style as emotional and accessible. When I was first getting inspired by music I used to get the ‘tingle factor’ (when the hairs on the back of your neck used to stand up) when I listened to music I loved. I have tried to find a compositional language which allows others to feel a strong emotional attachment to my work.

How do you work?

I like to write straight into the computer if I am working on a piece. I usually work at a piano to sketch ideas, and when I am happy with them, notate them straight away.

Who are your favourite musicians/composers?

Kaija Saariaho, Jonathan Harvey, Michael Tippett, John Tavener, Benjamin Britten, Tori Amos, Björk.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

I can’t remember the exact details but I watched Vaughan Williams’ ‘Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis’ when I was very young. I can remember the music having a profound impact upon me.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Learning how to listen is probably the most important part of becoming a musician. It takes time to develop and is fundamental to your success in all areas of the business.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

In a studio which would make Hans Zimmer jealous!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being truly grateful for everything you have.

What is your most treasured possession?

My piano.

What do you enjoy doing most?

Laughing.

What is your present state of mind?

Upbeat.

 

Jack White studied music at Somerville College, Oxford.  His postgraduate studies have been undertaken solely at Cardiff University where he has recently finished his PhD in composition.  His research interests are in electroacoustic composition and the combination of this media with traditional ensembles in ‘live’ performance.  He is also interested in the scoring methods used by electroacoustic composers and the relationship between such methods and a work’s identity.

Jack White is the recent recipient of a London Music Masters award

Jack White’s website