The composer is in the middle of a three-month residency, working on a number of different projects, and sent the following update:
Paris is inspiring and full of surprises. I am spending a busy three months here in the Centre Culturel Irlandais after being selected as their 2013 Composer-in-Residence. It has been an overwhelming experience balancing composing with exploring the city even though other residents warned me that it takes time to find that equilibrium. Staying in the ancient Latin Quarter stimulates the creative spirit and lends itself to an emersion in Parisian life.
Recently, I’ve been increasing my cultural intake and reducing the writing pressure I constantly place on myself, which can often be counterproductive. Wandering the streets and cycling the boulevards is a wonderful way to get inspired while discovering the many amazing cultural surprises that Paris has in store.
During the residency, I am developing an Opera about Robert Emmet as well as writing a suite for youth orchestra based on the city’s various architectural and cultural landmarks that sonically and texturally capture Paris, just as Mussorgsky embodied works of art in Pictures at an Exhibition.
I’m also working on a violin concerto for Cora Lunny with the kind support of an Arts Council of Ireland Project Bursary Award. We are collaborating closely on the subtlety of the piece, blogging and skyping regularly. Cora often surprises me with emailed movie-demos so that I can see if passages are sonically as I intended. Her 1738 Nicolo Gagliano violin has some amazing resonances and we are doing our best to make it sing!
Finally, I have been working on the symphonic score for The Letters, an epic biopic on the life of Mother Teresa. The film is visually stunning, and the evolving music score is a deep meditative reflection on her life.