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8 August 2011

A twisted version of 'Orpheus and Eurydice' (First Stones)

Anastasia Pahos Image: Anastasia Pahos  

In July, Halcyon and Elliott Gyger brought together a group of young composers, along with the drafts of new vocal works, for an intensive four days of rehearsal and discussion. Here, Anastasia Pahos writes about her involvement - for more First Stones blog articles, please see the Resonate blog. The First Stones workshops are organised with the AMC as a supporting partner. (See also: First Stones concert 19 November.)

In a world like the one we live in, it is rare to find new, beautiful and engaging music. In my opinion, that is. Yet there are those lucky few who are gifted with the glorious talent of being able to discover and create such music of their own - whether they know it or not is another matter. Ever since I can remember, and probably even before that, I have loved music, and it is my endeavour to continue to compose and slowly venture in awe into that realm of sheer magic.

Growing up in a Greek Orthodox household, it is no wonder that the intrigue of Eastern European musical characteristics and Byzantine chant have entered my compositional style. However, I have been fortunate to have involved myself in the exceptional music department of MLC School Burwood, where I committed myself to numerous ensembles, leadership roles and academic units, which cultivated my knowledge and understanding of Western music (as well as music of other cultures) throughout my primary and high school years. So with that in mind, I'd have to say that my unique identity as a composer consists of a fusion of Eastern European and Western musical conventions with a tendency to create highly emotive and 'film-like' atmospheres of rather epic proportions.

Religion often makes its way into my conceptual or lyrical ideas and I've also delved a little into electroacoustic music. I'm always asked what instruments I prefer to write for, which sets my teeth a little on edge because when I set out to compose a new piece, practicalities like number and type of instruments and duration come later in the process. For me, composing is opening the window to my soul, listening carefully and then embracing the rush of material, which is miraculously thrown at me.

Halcyon's First Stones project has given me the fantastic opportunity to write for esteemed players and transmit my music to the wider community. Writing for the voice, in particular, speaks quite personally to me because I adore singing and feel that singers give a bit of themselves into any performance.

I am writing a chamber work for soprano, clarinet in B flat and cello, which explores a twisted version of the Greek myth, Orpheus and Eurydice. I've been challenged at times to think of vocalists' and instrumentalists' roles in my music and coming at it from their perspectives rather than my own, and consider it a true blessing to have Elliott Gyger as source of compositional wisdom and someone to bounce ideas off. Honestly though, this experience has been something like a dream come true, if I may use so common a phrase, because I've yet another chance to express my soul through music and strum the emotional strings of my fellow human beings.

My biggest aspiration for a long time had been to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, which I'm currently doing, however my definite goal for the future is to write music for the media industry - be it for film, tv or video games, and even now I am certainly interested in scoring student works.

So watch this spot!

Further links

'First Stones - compositions taking shape' (blog article on Resonate by Alison Morgan)
Halcyon - First Stones 2011 (http://www.halcyon.org.au/page/first_stones_2011.html)

Anastasia Pahos is a Sydney-based composer and musician currently in her second year at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She is passionate about scoring music for the media industry and creating evocative sound worlds.


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