|Composer Sivan Eldar Photo: Mathieu Desruisseaux|
In the past year, composer Sivan Eldar has been travelling around the world, inspiring her latest composition, A Thousand Tongues, which will be read at the Berkeley Symphony EarShot Under Construction Readings. Find out how yoga, letter writing, and reading all played a role in Sivan’s composition process!
ACO: What was the inspiration for your composition? How would you describe your composition process?
Sivan Eldar: I had just moved back to San Francisco when I got the call from ACO in October. Life was moving very quickly until then. The months before I was in Prague, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, Berlin, NYC, DC. For some people that is normal, maybe they travel a lot for work or as part of an ensemble. But I’m used to spending a lot of time at home, doing things very slowly. Having only a few days in each place, to spend with people who are very special to me, was a very intense and strange experience. But also a very beautiful one. When I moved back to SF I knew that I would be living inside those memories for a while. So after I got off the phone with Greg at ACO I decided that through this piece I would spend time with these people and places. During the month I was composing I turned off the internet from 9am-8pm. I read a lot. I wrote letters. I spent time on my yoga mat at home. That was my process – slowing down time, and also giving time. I think one can hear it in the composition.
ACO: Since the selection of your work for the Berkeley Symphony EarShot Under Construction New Music Readings, how have you further developed your piece in preparation for the readings?
SE: My piece for the Berkeley Symphony is brand new! I’ve been working on it since late November 2013.
ACO: What do you hope to get out of this experience of having your piece read by the Berkeley Symphony and in working with the mentor-composers?
SE: I revise my music often. When I work collaboratively with a performer revising becomes part of the compositional process – we discuss sketches, we improvise, we make changes. Having multiple readings with the Berkeley Symphony, and getting immediate feedback from the conductor, the players, and the mentor-composers, is probably the closest I’ll ever get to really collaborating with an orchestra. It’s a very unique opportunity. I am thrilled about that.
ACO: What would you like to say to other composers who may be interested in applying to future New Music Readings?
SE: As I said, this is really a unique opportunity. It is a commissioning program that gives you enough time to develop a new work, but also enough feedback to realize it in the best way you can. Any composer who is drawn to the colors of the orchestra should definitely apply!