Matias Piegari, composer

Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music?

What inspired me the most throughout my career is that in some way or another everyone is moved by some type of music genre, and I’ve always felt captivated by the power music has on people to provoke emotions. Music is a universal language and I see it as a very powerful tool to communicate emotions or ideas without the need for words nor speaking the same language. It’s also a great way to connect with people from different cultures. Composing to me is to be able to choose a combination of sounds and ideas.

Who or what have been the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?

I grew up in a musical family, surrounded by instruments of all kinds and listening to all types music, from classical to tango, jazz, latin jazz and rock, and that has nurtured my musical language immensely, in both composing and performing and it has also helped me shape my own sound.

What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?

As a composer and performer in different genres of music, one of my greatest challenges has always been to find a way to keep improving and developing my style and technique in all the genres I like to play or compose. I approach each genre of music I play and compose in a completely different way, each one of them has it’s on way of being practiced and developed. Sometimes it’s hard to make myself time to compose when I’m performing a lot. On the other hand, when I focus too much on composing and producing it’s hard to keep up with my piano technique. I think it’s a matter of training the brain to deal with multiple styles at the same time. I’m still improving that.

What are the special challenges and pleasures of working on film and tv scores?

One special challenge of film music is understanding that each score is completely different from another. Every director will have a different point of view of what they want, so the process of figuring out what is it that they need will always be different. Filmmakers very rarely speak in musical terms. They communicate with feelings and emotions, so it is my job to figure out how to put those emotions into musical sounds to meet their vision.

As opposed to performing, filmmaking is a highly collaborative process because of all the art departments involved in it. Music is just a small part in the total artform. What attracts me is how much inspiration I can get from every art department, from wardrobe, acting, photography, sound, etc. Everything gives me inspiration to create a musical dialogue with the elements that are displayed on screen.

Of which works are you most proud?

My suite for solo piano “Aires Argentinos” is a work I composed over a seven-year period that I really like because it shows the musical evolution I had throughout those years. It’s a composition for solo piano but very challenging and technically demanding. It’s based on four Argentinian folk dances.

How would you characterise your compositional language/musical style?

My musical style is deeply influenced by the compositional techniques and explorations of the 20th century. My language is a mix of neo-classicism, impressionism, contemporary music, jazz, tango, and Argentinian folklore.

How do you work? What methods do you use and how do ideas come to you?

I don’t have a specific way of working. Some ideas I put onto paper have been in my head for many years until I felt they were mature enough to project them into a musical piece. Some other ideas are very spontaneous and effortless to develop. My compositional style will also vary depending on the type of music I’m performing. If I’m playing a lot of tango, I tend to be more influenced by that sound and my ideas will tend towards that genre. The best scenario is when I can combine different styles.

Who are your favourite musicians/composers?

In classical and orchestral music: Franz Liszt, Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, George Gershwin, Olivier Messiaen

In Jazz: Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Mccoy Tyner, Michel Camilo.

In Tango: Astor Piazzolla, Horacio Salgan, Osvaldo Pugliese and Fernando Otero.

In Film music: John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, Alexandre Desplat, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Michael Giacchino

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Success to me is to be able to do what I like in the best way I can, being able to make a good living out of it and hopefully inspire people with my music.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

There is no age limit for music, it’s just a matter of having a passion for it. That’s all it takes to make good music. Music is not an exact science, there is no right or wrong. There will always be people that don’t like what you do and will try to discourage you. Don’t let them do it! Always trust you inner voice and be true to the music you really want to create.

What next? Where would you like to be in 10 years time?

10 years from now I see myself doing the same thing I’m doing now, composing and performing while traveling with my music around the world.

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