Introducing our Next Wave 2 composer: Emma Wilde
Next Wave is a partnership project between NMC Recordings, Sound and Music and Sage Gateshead, designed to support and promote composers in higher education as they transition into the professional music industry. The following Q&A is extracted from the British Music Collection website as part of their New Voices series.
Emma Wilde is a Manchester-based composer who is completing a PhD under the supervision of Professor Camden Reeves at the University of Manchester. Her compositional interests include taking inspiration from the structures from Greek tragedy alongside musical characterization and stratification. Her works have also been inspired by techniques used in visual art and Latin American popular music.
Emma's piece El Hilo del Tiempo features on the Next Wave 2 album which is available to pre-order here.
Her piece will be performed at the New Year New Artists concert at Sage Gateshead on 27 January 2018. For more information and tickets click here.
What was your route into composing?
I have always been obsessed with music, particularly pop music, and as a young child I would invent songs and tunes on my keyboard but I never considered myself a ‘composer’ as such, although now I realise that composing is what I have always done. I started playing clarinet when I was 12 years old and I decided to study music at university primarily because of this. When I first attended composition seminars as an undergrad I wasn’t really sure if composing was for me. I had never really heard any contemporary classical music and at first it seemed quite strange and alien and I struggled to understand where I fit in in this world. My composition teacher Camden Reeves had a big influence on me as he encouraged us to think about our own individual compositional voices, and this gave me the confidence to write what I really wanted to hear. In my final year as an undergraduate I wrote a song cycle setting texts by Percy Shelley. I really enjoyed composing for voice and I realised that I wanted to pursue composing further. I was at the end of my music degree but had only just realised what I was really interested in so I decided to continue studying for a masters in composition and things developed from there.
Your piece developed very quickly after the first workshop and was already almost complete in the second workshop. Did you always have a clear vision of the final work going into this programme?
I always had a clear idea of the source of inspiration for the piece, which was the Mayan calendar, and I knew that I wanted to compose a piece about time. This helped me come up with musical materials quite quickly although I didn’t always have a clear vision of the final work. The first workshop really helped me refine my ideas as after that workshop I realised that I wanted to work with a smaller symmetrical ensemble of accordion, two violins and percussion which offered coherence of sound. The original sketches included brass instruments aswell but after the first workshop I didn’t feel that this ensemble was suited to my materials. Once I had the smaller ensemble in mind the work formed quite quickly and the ideas became more coherent and I was able to put together a full draft very quickly. This is usually how the compositional process works for me, once I understand the roles of the instruments within the ensemble and have a clear source of inspiration; I generally compose pieces quite quickly.
Read the full Q&A on the British Music Collection website.
Find out more about our Next Wave 2 project.
This work was created as part of Sound and Music’s Next Wave 2 programme. It was recorded and premiered in collaboration with Sage Gateshead and NMC Recordings. Next Wave 2 was funded by Arts Council England, PRS for Music Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust and The Angus Allnatt Charitable Foundation.