ACO: What was the inspiration for your composition? How would you describe your composition process?
Sivan Eldar: I had just moved back to San Francisco when I got the call from ACO in October. Life was moving very quickly until then. The months before I was in Prague, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Berlin, NYC, DC. For some people that is normal, maybe they travel a lot for work or as part of an ensemble. But I’m used to spending a lot of time at home, doing things very slowly. Having only a few days in each place, to spend with people who are very special to me, was a very intense and strange experience. But also a very beautiful one. When I moved back to SF I knew that I would be living inside those memories for a while. So after I got off the phone with Greg at ACO I decided that through this piece I would spend time with these people and places. During the month I was composing I turned off the internet from 9am-8pm. I read a lot. I wrote letters. I spent time on my yoga mat at home. That was my process – slowing down time, and also giving time. I think one can hear it in the composition.
ACO: Since the selection of your work for the Berkeley Symphony EarShot Under Construction New Music Readings, how have you further developed your piece in preparation for the readings?
SE: My piece for the Berkeley Symphony is brand new! I’ve been working on it since late November 2013.
ACO: What do you hope to get out of this experience of having your piece read by the Berkeley Symphony and in working with the mentor-composers?
SE: I revise my music often. When I work collaboratively with a performer revising becomes part of the compositional process – we discuss sketches, we improvise, we make changes. Having multiple readings with the Berkeley Symphony, and getting immediate feedback from the conductor, the players, and the mentor-composers, is probably the closest I’ll ever get to really collaborating with an orchestra. It’s a very unique opportunity. I am thrilled about that.
ACO: What would you like to say to other composers who may be interested in applying to future New Music Readings?
SE: As I said, this is really a unique opportunity. It is a commissioning program that gives you enough time to develop a new work, but also enough feedback to realize it in the best way you can. Any composer who is drawn to the colors of the orchestra should definitely apply!
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.
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