Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Both my parents were music teachers, and so I started very young. I don’t have any memories of a time when music wasn’t a part of my life! I’m very lucky, it wasn’t so much of a choice between music and other things, I just carried on doing music and trying to learn as much as I could.
Who or what have been the most significant influences on your musical life and career as a composer?
I learned to play violin with my dad, and definitely being a performer helped me as a composer and gave me an outlet to meet other musicians and enjoy making music whilst learning about the craft. I also grew up in Wales at a time when there were fantastic youth orchestras, the county orchestra, three counties and National Youth Orchestra. These residential courses had such a buzz about them, getting together and playing concerts as well as meeting new people, it gave me a love of music and performing.
What have been the greatest challenges/frustrations of your career so far?
Not having enough hours in the day! I enjoy doing lots of different things, but it’s also a necessity to be versatile to survive the freelance world. It has meant that sometimes finding the balance between practice, projects, fundraising, and earning money has meant taking on too much at once and losing focus.
How do you work? What methods do you use and how do ideas come to you?
I listen to music that I love, and think about what the performers I am writing for would like to play. I often collaborate with different types of performer and think what are their strengths, how can we collaborate fully, and allow them to be expressive in their performance.
How would you characterise your compositional language/musical style?
A bit of a mixed bag, moving freely between contemporary classical, jazz and singer-songwriter styles
Of which works are you most proud?
My upcoming album, Inconsistent, to be released on 2nd June (2023)! I recorded it in 2021 and wrote the music in lockdown, and I just stopped caring about what people might think and wrote something ‘from the heart’… It was a project supported by Jerwood Arts and PRS Foundation as well as Help Musicians, so I wasn’t having to stick to a brief and could let loose.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
For me it would be collaborating with musicians who I really admire. Being able to work in the same room or concert as other musicians who inspire me is very exciting and humbling.
What advice would you give to young or aspiring composers?
Try everything! And play an instrument! And you don’t have to formally study composition to write, look at scores you love, play pieces you love, find a way to communicate your ideas to performers or on the page.
What’s the one thing we’re not talking about in the music industry which you really feel we should be?
Maternity pay / parental leave
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being able to live in the moment, having nice morning routines and rituals, and being surrounded by friends and family.
‘Inconsistent’ is released on 2 June. The single, ‘Swooping of Swallows’, featuring 2016 BBC Young Musician Alexandra Ridout, out now
Claire Victoria Roberts is a composer, vocalist and violinist, blurring the boundaries of jazz, contemporary and singer-songwriter genres. She collaborates, as an artist, with musicians from classical, jazz and folk spheres, drawing upon her diverse influences and melding styles together: through improvised vocals, contemporary classical timbres, and melody-driven compositions.
Her work has been performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Psappha Ensemble, cellist Oliver Coates, Opra Cymru, Uproar Ensemble, Solem Quartet, and The Carice Singers. She has collaborated as a violinist and improvising vocalist with Camden Symphony Orchestra, Sherman Theatre, New Voices choir, Morley Arts Festival, Aberystwyth Arts Festival, and Sherman Theatre. As a composer, she has been commissioned by Cheltenham Festival, Presteigne Festival, and MusicFest, and the Wigmore Hall.