Sara Mohr-Pietsch interviews today’s composers exploring the relationship
between their immediate environment and the music they write. From BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now, published on Sunday mornings.
For the last Composers’ Rooms in the series, Sara Mohr-Pietsch visits sound recordist Chris Watson in his workspace, not an indoors studio but the acoustically rich environment of the Kielder Forest in Northumberland. As they walk through different sonic spaces Chris tells Sara about the art of listening, demonstrates his techniques for capturing birdsong, and talks about sharing his solitary experience with a wider audience.
Sara Mohr-Pietsch visits Hector Parra at IRCAM, the musical research centre in Paris established by Pierre Boulez, where he is composer in residence and teaches. In one of the famous underground studios, Hector tells Sara why the environment is perfect for creating electro-acoustic sounds.
In the first of two visits to composers based in Paris, Sara Mohr-Pietsch is in the home of Betsy Jolas. Jolas tells Sara what inspired her to buy the house where she lives and works, what drives her to write music, and why she composes only in the mornings.
Sara Mohr-Pietsch visits Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, where the composer Errollyn Wallen chooses to do much of her writing. Errollyn tells Sara how she loves working in the non-descript teaching rooms and imagines the ghosts of the building's naval history.
Sara Mohr-Pietsch visits the Dutch composer Louis Andriessen in the Amsterdam townhouse he's worked in for over 40 years. In rooms which overlook one of the city's canals, Andriessen tells Sara about the inspiration of the Dutch paintings on his walls, and about the demands of his daily routine.
Sara Mohr-Pietsch visits the North London workspace of Jennifer Walshe. Jennifer explains how she divides her composing time between her flat in London and a house in Ireland, and how her work explores the everyday sounds and sights of her immediate environment.