Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music?
During my childhood I was surrounded by music and art in my family. However, as a very little kid, I had a dream of being a composer. I would dream the sound of a whole symphony orchestra…From my early school years onwards, I would perform, sing or play piano, as I started to play the piano professionally at the age of 6. But winning the first price at the International Competition of Young Composers in Belgrade in 1997 definitely inspired me go through with the musical journey.
Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?
As a classically-trained composer and orchestrator I would say Philip Glass and Steve Reich on the one side. However, as I played in punk band while I was a student, and crossed the stylistic boundaries in musical styles, the influences were David Bowie and Lydia Lunch (whom I, by some crazy luck, met and became good friends with her)
What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?
I had a lot of challenges and I am person of challenge. Just to mention a few, the premieres of my avant-grade Opera “See Of Moons” at the Festival of Contemporary Music in Jakarta, Indonesia, then premiere of my electroacoustic piece Major Tom in Amsterdam at STEIM Institute, my first published CD “What If” signed with the German label Mensch Music in Cologne, Germany… My current challenge is finalising my PhD studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria, Institute for popular music as well as my upcoming performances of my Solo Songs which will be premiered in New York in 2020 by Compcord Ensemble. At this moment I am preparing a concert with a Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Morgan King, which is really a challenge and a huge joy, which will take place in Vienna at the end of January.
What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a commissioned piece?
The joy when the work will be played is definitely a special pleasure. I mostly use Sibelius for writing and once when I give a musician a part, then my music come to life. That is a very special moment.
What are the special challenges/pleasures of working with particular musicians, singers, ensembles and orchestras?
I have worked for a decade with an opera singer, where I was inspired by voice and made an Opus of my Vocal-Instrumental Cycle of Works, which was performed in 2009 in Belgrade, at the Gallery of Kolarac Foundation.
It was a huge pleasure but also a challenge to adapt music for a Sci-Fi short movie Robocracy (2018) which was presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2018. Every new piece is a new challenge and it is a huge pleasure to hear it performed live.
Of which works are you most proud?
I am proud of every work I compose. Every piece is special and has its own story, no matter is it an orchestra piece or an avant-garde music piece for piano and drums or electronics or dark storytelling songs cycle, on which I am currently working.
How would you characterise your compositional language?
It is not easy to describe my own compositional language, as I am an artist crossing borders between experimental and popular music, crossing the stylistic boundaries and creating something new. But I can say I am an avant-garde composer. However, I am classically-trained composer, orchestrator and pianist, so I have pushed myself further in artistic style, no genre, no limits, just complete freedom to express myself in my music.
How do you work?
I have a grand piano at my home, so I would usually play and sometimes look at the garden, listen to the nature and birds, and eventually get an idea, and write it down, or make a recording of it. After that, it would be developed, depending what I am composing at the time. However, I use music programs such as Sibelius and ProTools and if I need to create a new sound, then I would switch to Max/MSP. Depending of the projects, I would use to Logic or Cubase…however, these days I am developing my skills in Dorico. I learn every day.
Who are your favourite musicians/composers?
Philip Glass, David Bowie, Steve Reich, Mike Garson. I was very lucky to meet Mike Garson when he was touring in Vienna, in January 2019.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
I do what I love with people whom I am comfortable to work with. I only work with people who I like. At this time, I am arranger and pianist of avant-garde/ alternative Gothic duo Your Ghost. That is one of my many successes I have made this year. Our debut CD saw the light in November 2019 and our second CD is planned for January 2020 (www.your-ghost.com). Another is definitely my post punk, Neo classical duo 2 TOTEMS where I composed music for piano and drums and worked with it for 13 years. Now I am orchestrating my music for different ensembles.
Success is a relative term. Today I am a part of a project Obiman, and just to mention that I was his huge fan as a teenager in the 90s…and today we are great friends! I am also working on the adaptation of his work On The Rocks (Cafe del Mar vol.1), orchestrating and arranging his piece for strings.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
The most important is for musicians to enjoy playing the music I give them. And I want to give them the new music that they have never played before. At the moment I am preparing an orchestra piece and can’t wait for the feedback in 2020, because I write differently.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
In my own villa by the sea.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Harmony – body and soul.
What is your most treasured possession?
That would be my Boston grand piano. However, I am not attached to things.
What do you enjoy doing most?
Oh, I do love travelling and any activity in nature.
Marina Vesic (aka Black Marine) is an award-winning songwriter, classically trained composer and orchestrator. She is active as a pianist and multimedia performer as well, and collaborates with artists from around the world.