We asked Elliott Park, a postgraduate student at the Royal Academy of Music, to tell us a bit more about himself and his work.
What are you looking forward to about being part of Opus 1?
Getting to work with such high calibre performers and getting to know the other composers.
Who has been your biggest musical influence so far?
In terms of whose music I feel the most ‘at home’ listening to and who I feel I share a lot of the same priorities and concerns, I’d say Jonathan Harvey. I’d also cite Britten (and I’m not just saying that because it’s the Britten Sinfonia!) as the first composer whose music I felt I intuitively understood.
How did you get into composition?
When I took music for A level, I had a group of teachers who encouraged me to expand my listening into the 20th century and beyond (anything post-Mahler wasn’t really studied in the A-level course). I spent two years borrowing as many CDs, scores and books as I could on 20th-century and contemporary music because I didn’t live near a concert hall where I would hear those sorts of works.
What is your favourite instrument (or voice) to compose for?
Picking a favourite is difficult, but I’ve had great fun recently writing pieces for theorbo and Northumbrian smallpipes
Why do you think creating new music is important?
For me, it’s about creating a work which speaks to what it’s like to be a person in the world now and allowing the listener a space in which to explore something about the world that we both share… I guess that’s why music (and not just ‘classical’ music) always seems to deal with such emotional extremes; it’s a way for us to safely explore what happens when we experience the extremes of joy, sadness, terror, passion, serenity and so on.
What’s your biggest compositional ambition?
I’d love to write a full scale opera. I’ve done shorter projects with one or two singers and chamber ensembles before and have always had great fun working with the librettists and performers. On the other hand, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to write for a full orchestra, so I suppose I’d better do that first..!
What 3 pieces of music would you have to have on your desert island?
An outrageously unfair question, so I’ll give an unfair answer and say that I’d take anything so long as I hadn’t heard it before. I’d spend my time on the island getting to know all the intricacies of it over the years – a far better fate than getting to the island and instantly regretting my choice.
What is the best snack?
If I’m trying to be good, fresh mango. If I’m not, then I’m tempted to say some authentic North East cheesy gravy chips!
Find out more about Elliott’s work here – elliottpark.co.uk