Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Brian Collins Interview

I’m sure that this interview with designer Brian Collins will resonate with other composers. He talks about being “different” as a child, and embracing his unique view of the world and his personal interests (reading and drawing) rather than allowing bullies to bother him. He talks about designers not merely being problem solvers; he thinks of them as “problem creators.”

Isn’t that exactly what composers do? We create musical problems, and we try to solve them in the most expressive ways possible. Collins talks about envy (and what composer doesn't carry a bunch of envy), and he talks about periods of depression being useful (if not essential) for growth.

Performing musicians do their best to identify problems in musical situations, and then they draw on the depths of their creativity to solve them. Performing musicians also create problems while they are performing (I made this crescendo, and now I have to maintain it; I need to get to another part of the bow; I have to adjust my intonation to match the clarinet; I have to match a bowing; I need to take a breath somewhere; I'm not sure where I am; I made a counting error, and now I have to make up for it, etc.), and they have to solve them on the spot, and without anyone noticing.

Composers make all those problems possible. (And some make solving them impossible.)

I think musicians (composers and performing musicians) will find it interesting listening.

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