Visiting artist talks inspiration, concertos, and composition
On Thursday, Nov. 15, renowned composer Marjan Mozetich visited the University of Ottawa campus as part of Composer Talks—a series of lectures given by composers from around the world, and run by staff at the U of O Music Department.
Mozetich’s works feature a unique blend of both modern and classical elements, which are meant to give body to his pieces, and a minimalistic touch that aims to resonate with a wide audience.
“Marjan is the only Canadian composer I know whose music I recognize instantly when I hear it on the radio,” asserted John Armstrong, the event’s organizer and an adjunct professor at the U of O, as he introduced Mozetich to the audience.
Indeed, his success has landed him the reputation of being one of the most broadcasted classical composers in Canada today.
At the event, Mozetich shared insight into one of his latest orchestrations for a cello concerto—in which, his piece contained three movements amounting to over 30 minutes in performance time.
“There is no formula (to perfect composition). I tend to write organically and … work through my pieces chronologically,” he explained in his presentation. “I start in a certain situation, I see what I like and look at certain dynamics, then I reiterate that sequence and put it together, and then move on to the next section.”
Mozetich told the Fulcrum that he learned music at a young age—and, was motivated by passion for music, and an interest in improvisation.
“(I) started writing it down, and … started composing. It’s kind of like one thing led to another,” he explained. “With time, I started making a living off of it, and people started commissioning me to write pieces.”
Yet, the visiting composer does not see making music as a simple way to make money—Mozetich’s aspirations for the future entail “writing new works (until the end),” he told the Fulcrum.
“As an artist, you just hope to keep creating, and that people will like it. (Moreover,) there’s a certain satisfaction and a pleasure in writing something that connects to people.”
It was viewpoints like Mozetich’s that Armstrong hopes to convey in the speaker series—yet, he told the Fulcrum that he should not take all of the credit for its creation.
“Today’s event was funded (by) generous donations (for) the music department by … Michéline Beaudry-Somynsky,” he said. “She wanted composers to come in and talk to the students, and so that’s what we did.”
In fact, the counsel that Mozetich offered students does not only apply to musicians. “In any field, (it is important to) persevere and stick with it,” he told the Fulcrum. “I think the tendency is to always get bored and quit and start something entirely different (regardless of what) discipline one is in.”
“If you’re focused and you want to be an artist or a composer, then … stick with it, because—particularly in the arts—it’s hard to make it and become successful, and it requires patience.”