How did you come to be involved with education work at Glyndebourne?
‘I can’t remember the exact origins as it was such a long time ago! I think it may have been as composer on an Idomeneo project (Rattle/Sellers/Kapoor production) in collaboration with the OAE and Glyndebourne education departments.’
Did you face any particular challenges in writing an opera for young people?
‘It was a challenge to write material that could be learned by heart in very few vocal rehearsals, yet remained complex and challenging for the group and really stretched the young singers to their max. It was a challenge to produce a work that would be just effective both in the Jerwood space, but also on the main stage – and also at the Riverside Studios in London.’
What is the most rewarding aspect about composing for amateur voices?
‘You can write beautiful, challenging music which is practically devoured by excited, open-minded young people! You can experiment, alter and play with ideas in an open environment. You get immediate feedback with regards to your music and work.’
Who do you believe has had the greatest impact on your music?
‘Impossible to answer this in a nutshell. Every musical experience I have had since childhood has had an impact and continues to affect my work. It all contributes to a constantly morphing and changing musical ear and landscape.’
What has been the most memorable moment working with Glyndebourne?
‘Very many lovely memories: picnicking in the rain and on balmy evenings in the glorious sun; hearing ghosts in upstairs studios; watching colleagues take icy winter dips in the lake by night; informal chats with great artists in the courtyard eating delicious Glyndebourne cakes; and many more. Glyndebourne is one of those magical, precious places which allows music and artists space to breathe and create. It is a world within itself – and I feel very privileged to have had a close relationship with the education department for the past 17 years.’
[Information collected 15/09/16]