Feature
Q & A with composer Andrew Hamilton
18 April 2018

Dublin born composer Andrew Hamilton studied in Ireland, England and The Netherlands. His composition teachers included Kevin Volans, Anthony Gilbert and Louis Andriessen. In 2004 he was awarded the Macaulay Fellowship by the Arts Council of Ireland and from 2005 to 2006 he was a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart. Currently he is a visiting tutor in composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

 

Andrew Hamilton's album music for people is available on NMC here.

 

 

What was your route into composing?

Very conventional: sang relentlessly, learned the recorder which I didn't stick with as I found it slightly upsetting (massed groups of six year old children playing Frére Jacques did not live up to my six year old concept of the transcendental ), started the violin at seven and started writing stuff down aged 10.

 

Where and when was your first composition performed? What was it?

At 13 I wrote a piece for myself and the three other students in my music class and we played it in school assembly.  It was about a mountain in Ireland called Slieve Gullion, it did not go down well.


You're stuck in a lift with three people of your choice (dead or alive)! Who are they and what would be the topic of discussion while you wait to get rescued?

I would choose my heroes Agnes Martin, Marcel Proust and Mozart. Proust and Mozart would keep our spirits up with hilarious stories but after a while we would need Martin to bring a bit of calm and silence to balance the situation.  I would like to ask them about the things that are not often discussed in social media and the PR side of the arts- how they dealt with the isolation and loneliness, the failures, passing fashions- i.e. the real stuff.  Hopefully, St. Francis of Assisi would be on the other end of the emergency line as he could cut through our ramblings and lack of organisation.

 

If you could collaborate with anyone across any genre or art form who would it be and why?

Lately I have been really inspired by the work of the choreographer/artist Yvonne Rainer. I would love to emulate the freedom, clarity and humour she brings to her work.

 

What do you listen to when you are not composing?

Mostly no music and then intense bouts of Mozart.

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