Ten contemporary composers share their works on PIANO SPECTRUMS, a profoundly emotive selection of aesthetic contemporary pieces performed by Anna Kislitsyna. Among these works are a selection of composer John Robertson’s Preludes, ranging from sprightly and uplifting to gentle and melancholy.
Today, John is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about his musical library, and his new found love for Mozart…
What is your guilty pleasure?
Greek yogurt! It seems to be too good to be good for you.
If you could make a living at any job in the world, what would that job be?
I’d still like to be a composer! Perhaps a world famous and much performed one would be nice.
How do you prepare for a performance?
Fortunately, as a composer my work is done by the time of the performance and I can generally relax. Of course I’m nervous that mistakes will be made, and the audience might be unresponsive, or even boo — which has never happened, I’m happy to say. Rehearsals are another matter, especially the first run through. and I find them very stressful, dreading that mistakes will be found in the parts or that something will be found to be unplayable or, worse, that the piece isn’t any good. These are all silly concerns, but they occur to any artist who is putting their work before the public.
Where and when are you at your most creative?
I like to think that it’s when I’m working on a piece, with my best time being after my first cup of coffee in the morning.
What was the first performance you remember seeing?
A school trip to see The Marriage of Figaro when I was around 13. I remember thinking it was the most wonderful thing, and still do. I foolishly went off Mozart when I was in my later teens and discovered Mahler and other “big” composers, however I came to my senses and Mozart has now become the alpha and omega for me; not that I’ve dropped Mahler or anyone else, just that I’ve learned to put things in perspective.
If we looked through your music library, what would we be surprised to find?
Gilbert and Sullivan, a lot of Saint-Saens, some Spohr, a great deal of Tchaikovsky (but little Brahms), and a ton of Haydn symphonies.