Composer Soosan Lolavar takes on some quickfire questions in the lead up to our Spectrum of Sound concert on Saturday 28 March. Soosan’s new work Protect me from what I want features in the evening’s late night lounge, at 9.30pm in the foyer.
She shares her highs, her lows and her best musical joke:
What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?
Every single time I manage to write a piece of music. When I’m in the middle of the creative process I feel so lost and confused that I’m constantly amazed when things come together at the end and I am still a vaguely sane human being.
What do you fear?
Disaster, obsolescence, realising it was all a waste of time, losing someone I love.
Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you as a composer?
Atmsophères for orchestra by György Ligeti. It completely blew my mind when I first heard it and opened me up to a whole world of sound I never knew existed.
What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
An experimental installation work called Aftermath when I was at Oxford University. It lasted for around 20 minutes and involved, among other things, someone throwing a beach ball continuously at their friend’s head, two people walking in every couple of minutes and spraying scent on the audience, a man playing banjo from inside a large box and me switching a desk lamp on and off at very specific intervals.
What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
A book on Bauhaus that I bought ages ago and still haven’t got round to reading.
What was the first recording you ever bought?
Stay by Eternal – a true classic. Following that it was Country House by Blur – I still know all the words.
Describe your compositional style in three words.
Textural, restrained, meditative.
If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
I’d love to be an architect but I don’t have any of the requisite skills.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
All of my composition teachers, each of whom have changed my life in ways they can’t imagine, but especially Cecilia McDowell, Oliver Leaman, Dominic Murcott and Stephen Montague.
Tell us your best musical joke.
This Aaron Copland quote always makes me laugh:
“Listening to the Fifth Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for 45 minutes.”