If you choose the career track of a composer, you don't choose an easy route. Be prepared to work, and believe more in your own ideas rather than try to adjust to please people around you.
—Örjan Sandred, composer
is a Swedish
composer who came to teach at the University of Manitoba in 2006.
Before moving to Winnipeg, Sandred taught composition at the Royal College of Music
in Stockholm, Sweden.
Sandred's music is played in countries around the world. On the horizon is a performance of his Amanzule Voices for cello and live electronics
in Weimar, Germany this November and the premiere of At the Floe Edge
for oboe, 2 bass drums and live electronics in Paris, France in 2013.
SCENE wanted to go behind the scenes with composer Örjan Sandred.What is the first piece of music that you wrote?
This seems like a simple question, but is not that obvious to answer. I took composition lessons from age 13, and the first compositions we worked on were piano pieces that I performed myself at concerts in my home town.
I remember Fantasy for Piano
that was an atonal piece (with some tonal centres). These early composition experiences encouraged me and were important for my later choice of career.What is the last piece of music you listened to?
I listen to music every day as part of my job at the university. This semester I look at a variety of pieces together with the students, from Bruckner to Davidovsky. I enjoy going deep into the music to better understand the mind of composers from different times and places.What do you love about composing?
Composing is about communication - finding ways to express ideas and interact with peoples' minds and feelings. This is a very cool aspect of music. I am curious about how to push musical expressions into new musical dimensions, and how to communicate them to my listeners.Where does your inspiration come from when you write music?
The moment you get a feeling in your head about what a new piece could be - but it does not yet exist - that is the moment you get inspired. Music is abstract, and so is my inspiration.What do you miss about Stockholm and what do you appreciate about Winnipeg?
a professional perspective, Stockholm is a city where the contemporary
music scene is bigger than in Winnipeg, and more concerts with an
international contemporary repertoire takes place.
geographical location is very challenging for a city like Winnipeg - far
away from other cultural centres. This being said, Winnipeg still gives
me opportunities to work with great performers. Right now I am writing a
piece for violinist Oleg Pokhanovski
, which is a project I am excited about. The University of Manitoba
gives me a good platform to work from, and I see a lot of potential in the city.If possible, please explain "rule based computer assisted composition techniques."
One of my professional interests is to develop new methods to compose music. This is important for me as a composer, not as a listener. By developing my composition method, I develop my music. All creative people should challenge their ways of thinking creatively sometimes.
I have gone quite far into researching how music can be formalized, which means how I can describe my music in theoretical terms. This is for me a method to find alternative ways to develop my ideas. The term "Rule based computing" is very technical, and relates to artificial intelligence. My research is within a narrow field, but has had an impact internationally.What advice do you give your students?
If you choose the career track of a composer, you don't choose an easy route. Be prepared to work, and believe more in your own ideas rather than try to adjust to please people around you. If you don't stand up for your ideas, it is not worth it. If you want to be rich and famous, there are easier and faster ways to achieve that goal!Composer Örjan Sandred will be featured at the Meet the Composer Series on Tuesday October 16, 7:30 p.m. at McNally Robinson Grant Park.