Mustafa Khetty, composer

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

After 36 years in business, one day in mid-November 2017, I walked out, having sold my business interests to focus on music, a passion from as early as I could remember. It’s now or never.

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

The classical greats and the enormous repertoire and knowledge depository, and the 1970’s Prog Rock era, many band members were classically trained instrumentalists who re-defined classical instruments to sing in new ways.

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

Finding talented musicians to co-create with me, meeting of minds and shared aspirations has been frustrating.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on a commissioned piece?

A commissioned piece would be an interesting experience especially if the project does pique one’s curiosity and there is a convergence of ideas.

What are the special challenges/pleasures of working with particular musicians, singers, ensembles and orchestras?

Talented instrumentalists without an inflated ego are a pleasure to work with. Challenges are many, instrumentalists can be limited to their particular genre. Ability to absorb different genres, styles and form is not east to come by. Playing technically and lyrically is a world of difference.

Of which works are you most proud?

An alternative word would be “pleased”. My first release, ‘Requiem for New Zealand’. We spent entire two days and nights to compose, structure and orchestrate and then two weeks of analysis paralysis and it was released just in time before the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 15 March.

How would you characterise your compositional language?

Free from rules and the creative flow is foremost and then rules, structure and form.

How do you work?

Spontaneous, around the clock and never a dull moment.

Who are your favourite musicians/composers?

Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and 20th century, Arvo Part, Rick Wakeman, Carlos Santana and Martha Argerich

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

To be and bring delight to the listener whether it’s one or a million.

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

What you hear is what you write and rules are meant to be broken.


Determined to bring good news to the classical musicians affected by Coronavirus cancellations, composer Mustafa Khetty is adapting the production of classical music to help the survival of musicians and music alike!

Appealing to those countries most affected, Mustafa has written his forthcoming classical works in a way which involves all the musicians of an orchestra, but in the isolation of their own living room. Sending written parts to each musician and allowing them to record their individual piece, Mustafa is using his recording software to piece together the sound of a full orchestra, with incredible results.

“I still need an orchestra for recording and I also want to help musicians out of work. I’ve found a way to get the authentic sound of an orchestra while also giving musicians out of work who are stuck at home a lifeline.”

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