VC INTERVIEW | Composer Alexey Shor on Collaborating with a Competitors

(Photograph credit score: Evgeny Evtyukhov)


The Basic Strings Worldwide Competitors only in the near past introduced the winners for its Violin and Cello editions: violinist Dumitru Pocitari and cellist Michał Balas acquired first prize, respectively.

The occasion happened on the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Music Corridor in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. You possibly can watch the violin last rounds right here and the cello last rounds right here.

This 12 months, American-Maltese composer Alexey Shor served as Composer-in-Residence. His work Phantasms, for violin and orchestra, and his Musical Pilgrimage, for cello and orchestra, had been carried out by the competitors individuals.

The Violin Channel had an opportunity to speak with Alexey about what it was like having his compositions included in a contest reminiscent of this one.


Inform us concerning the two works that had been carried out at this 12 months’s Basic Strings violin and cello competitions?

Because the title “Musical Pilgrimage” implies, this 3-movement cello concerto takes the listener on a “tour” of my favourite musical types.

It has components written in a really classical method, components paying homage to Baroque and nineteenth century virtuosic showpieces, and it concludes with a kind of a tango (however in 3/4 and scored in a way extra classical than a listener sometimes expects from a tango).

The violin concerto “Phantasms” consists of 3-movements alluding to daydreams, ghosts, and apparitions.

The primary motion is known as “Dance of the Graces.”  In Greek and Roman mythology, graces are three minor goddesses of attraction, magnificence, nature, human creativity, and fertility. The Three Graces have been represented in artwork on a number of events. Most famously in Sandro Botticelli’s portray “Primavera” and in Antonio Canova’s sculpture “The Three Graces.” In contrast to most first actions of concertos which are based mostly on two principal themes, the primary motion of “Phantasms” relies on three essential themes representing the three dancing graces.

“The Elegy,” in fact, evokes emotions of profound disappointment and demise.  

The final motion is known as “The Flight of a Falcon.” Falcons are the quickest animals on earth. They’ll dive at velocity of over 200 mph.

So, fittingly, the final motion is the quickest and essentially the most virtuosic one, with many troublesome passages that require extraordinarily excessive ranges of approach.


What was your inspiration for the 2 works?

I am unable to title something particular.  I simply take pleasure in writing for strings, and lots of of my musical concepts come to me with a string soloist in thoughts.


With the 2 works you composed, what parts had been you hoping the candidates would have the ability to convey out? Did they efficiently obtain this?

I hoped that these concertos would give the performers alternatives to exhibit numerous elements of their artwork  — there are hovering melodies, virtuosic passages, many temper modifications, and so forth… 

I really feel the competitors attracted a number of the most promising younger musicians on this planet, and it was an actual pleasure to listen to them play my music.


You’ve gotten composed 4 violin concertos and a pair of cello concertos. Inform us about your expertise writing for string soloists, and the way you go concerning the course of…

Once I hear new music in my head, it is usually with a violin or cello soloist, so I, naturally, find yourself with many musical concepts which are initially written down for a string instrument and a piano (typically for a string instrument, piano, and one or two different devices).  Initially, I write with out a lot thought concerning the technical elements of taking part in the devices, however within the later levels, I all the time spend numerous effort and time to make my writing idiomatic to the devices. Usually I’ve to seek the advice of with gamers concerning trickier technical elements.


How do you method writing a brand new fee? Do you like route and perimeters or a totally open inventive course of to extrapolate an concept?

More often than not I’ve full freedom over my inventive course of. However on just a few events once I did have particular restrictions, I did not thoughts it.

Restrictions should not essentially 100% unfavourable. There’s something comforting in understanding precisely what the result’s anticipated to be.


What’s one of the best piece of recommendation you got when beginning out on this discipline?

I bought numerous recommendation from my pals on particular elements of the compositional craft  — which books to learn, which scores to pay particular consideration to, and so forth…  However, on a extra international scale, I all the time knew what sort of music I wished to put in writing.


What can be your recommendation for younger composers right now, who’re hoping, like your self, to make a full-time profession from writing music?

Past just a few very apparent cliches, like “work onerous and consider in your self,” I do not know the way a lot helpful recommendation could be given to a basic viewers. Individuals are all completely different, they usually all must face distinctive challenges of discovering their sturdy fits, their true pursuits, and, finally, their particular person voices.