Heidi Breyer, composer

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

The main classical masters throughout music history from Baroque coming forward… specifically J.S. Bach, Mahler, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Debussy and more. These composers influenced the texture, (meaning both linear-­more contrapuntal, and strophic styles of my writing) and the importance and structure of melody, too.

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

Not enough people knowing about my music. As an indie artist, you are often operating like a one-­man-­band. I found that hard until this latest larger scale work which required a lot of collaboration managerially and communication that has gone beyond anything I could have imagined.

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

The fact that you have been asked to write something that has an objective, an end goal and the commissioner has come to you specifically because they want yourstyle of writing, means that beyond the payment (which is relished) your music is sought after and has a voice and personality that is memorable enough to bechosen. That is deeply affirming. Timelines can be challenging but nothing compared to the movie writing industry. Their expectationof the content doesnot bother me. I trust my ability to deliver.

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

I’ll get back to you on that after the premiere of my new choral orchestral work!!

Of which works are you most proud?

‘Amor Aeternus: A Requiem For The Common Man’. My recently-released choral orchestral recording that received its premiere at Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium on July 21st 2022!

How would you characterise your compositional language?

Melodically expressive often with a dance or conversation between two leading ‘voices or instruments’ set on a back drop/canvas that provides a supportive and meaningful foundation for their interplay. I describe my work generally as ‘contemporary classical for the modern romantic’.

How do you work?

Hard! I have a process that is becoming more cohesive with each composition but honestly wound my way to my current process by default rather than design. I start the old fashioned way, playing around with the sound of the subject matter and using a pencil, manuscript and the piano. When it has sustained itselfand has stood the test of time, I take it into software and begin composing for the instruments I envision will work best.From the software the score is created and Then I take it to the studio and record on real instruments and with real voices (if choral or vocal). And so on…

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Having regular concerts, touring, writing something new as often as your concerts allowand collaborating with names in the industry for whom you have respect and feel are trust worthy. It is all about working with people you can trust and enjoy making music with, not just a notion of findingthe best talent or opportunity.

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

Divide your time between healthy consistent practice, composing and marketing strategy building and implementation. You need to be disciplined. Forget the schmoozing and stay laser focused on your ultimate goal whether that is organizing one concert, a tour, a recording or building your public following.

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music audiences?

Outreach, education for the young, workshops or rehearsals open to the public, more performances that are cheap enough for wide demographic attendance. More Government sponsored classical music programsand grants for composers to be able to organize performances.Also the type of classical music presented is important. Always have new classical music somewhere in the program and perhaps accessible enough or with a message that is wide and understandable and not just new music that tries to reinventthe wheel. It must havea voice and message for modern times which might spark/switch-­on anotherwise dormant listener.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Doing more of the same! Composing, performing, recording and generally sharing mymusicianship and creativity with anyone who wants to listen what I hope to still be doing in 10 years! I write my music as an example of what the ordinary person is capable of and along with everything else that is created of beauty or substance others will recognize themselves in my work and in their own personal quest to contribute to humanity. Humanity needs so much more than fundamentals for survival (which is what so many are now reduced to focusing on) and music is one wayto enrich lives instantly and powerfully.

Heidi Breyer is an award-winning contemporary classical composer, educated in London, UK at Trinity College of Music. Having released 5 prior albums, her 6th release reveals yet another dimension through her modern romantic treatment of the traditional Latin Requiem Mass. 

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