Thursday 3 April 2014

Brett Dean on composition

Australian composer and violist, Brett Dean joins Britten Sinfonia in May for the world premiere tour of his new work, String Quartet No. 2 (And once I played Ophelia). Here he talks about what he loves most about composing and his thoughts on the Musically Gifted scheme.

How would you summarise yourself in one sentence?

Paul Hindemith jamming manically on a MIDI viola in Tom Waits' band.

What do you like most about music and composing?
What I love most about composing is not really knowing exactly how a piece is going to unfold, so that there’s a certain mystery about the adventure.

What inspires you?
All manner of things, from all sorts of directions; stories, other works of art, human relationships…

How do you feel about new music and what we’re trying to do with Musically Gifted?

New music is what I myself am living for, and I think that the Musically Gifted programme is a terrific way of finding new people who are prepared to take ownership of music, to give them a completely different appreciation of the act of creating something new.

What was your reaction when Britten Sinfonia commissioned you?
I was very excited, also to use it as an opportunity to delve into the Ophelia character, a character that’s inspired me for a long time.

What would you like to be recognised for?

Reconnecting performance and composition – the way a lot of music-making used to be.

Musical guilty pleasure?
"Dreamer" by Supertramp (ooh, that sexy electric piano!)

At the end of a long day, how do you relax?

A G&T and something good on the telly.

If you hadn’t been a musician, what might have happened?
I’d always hoped to open the batting for Australia, but they never called me.

You can support Brett Dean's new commission via the Musically Gifted scheme. The closing date for donations is Friday 11 April 2014.

Brett's new work will be featured in our At Lunch 4 tour to Cambridge, Norwich and London. For more details click here.

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