Patrick answered some questions about the workshops and his piece for SoundAdvice.
|Composer Patrick O'Malley|
Patrick O'Malley: Quite excited, and really looking forward to spending some time in the midwest again after living in Los Angeles for a couple of years (I’m originally from Indiana). Even in Paradise was definitely one of those pieces that I ended up obsessing over more than other projects, so I am very glad that it is receiving the attention. Can’t wait to meet everybody and get to work.
ACO: Your bio says "O'Malley considers the listener’s imagination as much as every other musical element." How does Even in Paradise consider the listener's imagination?
PO: I often (though not always) associate music with some sort of abstract visual imagery - when I listen and when I compose. This is part of the listening experience that an audience member goes through, and is directly connected to his or her imagination. With regards to Even in Paradise, I am trying to create both a landscape and a sort of drama for the listener. What each person individually imagines I cannot say, as the piece does not contain a specific program to tell the audience exactly what to think about. The piece was written to create a sense of place and action. The contrasting sections of hazy harmony versus clear harmony, challenging moments versus moments of release etc., all work to set a stage, so to speak, for the audience’s imagination and emotions to explore.
ACO: What do you hope to learn or improve upon at the EarShot – Columbus Symphony New Music Readings? Is there anything in particular you feel needs improvement in Even in Paradise?
PO: I made a lot of small revisions to the piece after the premier; mostly dynamics and dealing with the layers of orchestration. Almost every section of the piece contains foreground, middle ground, and background, and if I don’t balance those things correctly, it just sounds like a mess. Those changes proved valuable in a performance of the piece about a month ago, and I hope that (after a couple more changes) with Columbus I’ll finally get everything I was aiming for. And of course it goes without saying that I am looking forward to meeting my colleagues and mentors, and whatever insights they might bring.
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