Last Sunday, we had the amazing opportunity to interview composer Richard Causton as he joined us for Music Maze, our free monthly workshops for 8-11 year olds. During the workshop we explored his new work Transients which focuses on how to make the piano 'speak', with the words of a poem by Emily Dickinson. The children wrote down the questions that they wanted to ask on pieces of paper, which Richard Causton then answered. Transients will be giving its World Premiere on Sunday 15 December as part of our Migrating Sounds concert. 

Here is a transcript of the interview between Richard and Nancy, our Director of Learning and Participation. 

Nancy: Okay Richard, what’s your favourite instrument?

Richard: Ooh that’s really hard, So I’ll try give a quick answer. For me the different instruments are a bit like different colours and if I was making a picture I’d want to be able to use lots and lots of different colours, so I like them all for different things but I do love the cello very much.

Nancy: Of course, it’s the best instrument!

Richard: And I love the clarinet very much as well.

Nancy: How long have you been composing music for?

Richard: Ooh I started when I was about 8, so is anyone here 8? *pause* Um there you are.

Nancy: What is the first song that you wrote or the first piece of music that you wrote?

Richard: Oh right, I wrote a piece for cello and clarinet and piano.

Nancy: Do you remember anything about it?

Richard: It was in three four time.

Nancy: Right. Is your job tiring?

Richard: Really tiring!

Nancy: What makes it tiring?

Richard: Well things like what I was talking about like trying to capture all of those things in the speech in the words and trying to make them through instruments, that was a really really tiring thing to do.

Nancy: Do you like your job?

Richard: I love my job.

Nancy: Do you work everyday? Do you compose everyday maybe?

Richard: Yes. I can’t always compose every day because I have to do quite a lot of teaching and other things so I can’t always compose everyday but I try to if I possibly can.

Nancy: How did you become a musician?

Richard: Well so when I was 8 I started having lessons, I had lessons on the flute, and then I had lessons on the piano and then I studied music after I left school and that is really how it happened.

Nancy: Do you play the keyboard?

Richard: Badly, but yes!

Nancy: How many songs, pieces of music have you made?

Richard: Well I’ve written quite a lot of pieces of music but the pieces of music that I still… that I really count there’s about 35, 40.

Nancy: How do you get inspired?

Richard: All kinds of different things, so this piece as you know is about words and speech, the last piece I wrote was about time passing and trying to hold onto it as it passes, but all kinds of different things.

Nancy: What is the favourite piece you’ve written?

Richard: Ooh gosh, I wrote a piece for orchestra a long time ago called Millennium Scenes, and that’s maybe my favourite piece, it was the hardest one to write.

Nancy: And thinking about other people’s music what is your favourite piece of music and who made it?

Richard: Oh boy, these are hard questions. Well there’s a piece of music called the Rite of Spring and I love that.

Nancy: Brilliant, and who wrote that?

Richard: Stravinsky.

Nancy: Well thank you very much Richard, can we give Richard round of applause for joining us and thank you very much for being with us today.

Richard: Thank you.