Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music?
It’s like being born in your country, it just happens. It is between a chess game and treasure hunting – looking for perfection and putting things together, create the unknown
Who or what were the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?
My experiences as a human. Living intensively each moment of my life.
What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?
Trust. Having the right people around me.
What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a commissioned piece?
It is all about the balance between one’s own creativity and what the client wants. It is a challenge as it pushes the boundaries of my own way of working; it expands my mind
What are the special challenges/pleasures of working with particular musicians, singers, ensembles and orchestras?
Finding people on the same wavelength. When it happens, it is magical – I had goosebumps playing with a pianist once, it was incredible. The challenges are people with a big ego, then it can be a nightmare but I find it is also a way for me to learn how to let go and make it work. As the end of the day, I want to have fun.
Of which works are you most proud?
My piano work is the core of my soul.
How would you characterise your compositional language?
Language of the heart. My mother tongue.
How do you work?
I sit down at the piano mainly and I just start playing. I often end up being in a kind of trance and magic starts happening. I can spend up to 10 hours straight on the piano, without realising it.
Who are your favourite musicians/composers?
Chopin and Gottschalk.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
Wake up with a smile every day doing what I love.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Find your own voice. Do not try and be something, just make music as much as possible, play, compose, write, then the rest comes in…
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
On a desert island under a palm tree doing yoga on the beach looking at the horizon.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being loved by the loved ones.
What is your most treasured possession?
What do you enjoy doing most?
Being outside in the sunshine, which might be slightly an issue here in London. We should do this interview in summer, it will be a totally different game.
What is your present state of mind?
RIOPY performs at the Institut Francais, London, on Thursday 30 January in a late-night performance as part of the Night of Ideas festival. Further information