It was finding harpist Eline Groslot that inspired the idea for a harp concerto - today the work is finished, and Eline will premiere it on 28 October 2022 in Flagey... How did you approach writing specifically for harp?
Well, the harp as a solo instrument is a challenge but it’s such a brilliant instrument, capable of so many things - from really quiet moments and blindingly explosive ones as well. And having the chance to work with a virtuoso like Eline Groslot means I am free to write anything that comes to mind - which is a very liberating circumstance for a composer.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the work?
In terms of inspiration, the Samuel Taylor Colerdige text is magical. I have always loved his work. It is one of the great pleasures of my job to be able to spend time with these extraordinary masterpieces.
In just three words, how would you describe your own music?
That’s always a tough question. I’d like to say expressive, expressive, expressive.
You are based and split between US and UK - how has this influenced your music?
I believe it’s made me think in broader terms about the world and my place in it - with a foot on each side of the Atlantic. I grew up in the States, but I truly love Britain. I would say my best work has had ties to Europe and the UK especially. I am proud of that.
How do you achieve the magic and drive and direction in your work?
Oh that’s a secret! Even from me .... I think it is best not to look too closely at the source of most magic. Accept it as a gift and just keep on writing. That’s the plan, anyway.
Find out more about the composer and his other work on his website.
The musicians perform the music connected to the earthly. Philip Glass translates the fire in The Light, Geoffrey Gordon puts the wind as the breath of God in his brand new harp concerto, and Claude Debussy brings La Mer to life in all its forms. In many religions, such as Tibetan, there is a fifth element that brings everything together: the inspiration for Camille Pépin's Vajrayāna.