Monday, August 6, 2012

Rachel E. Merton - the love about Classical Contemorary music

Photograph by Nicole Turner
Story and interview by Chris Koppers, photograph courtesy of Rachel E. Merton

Every now and then, music lovers are stunned by a single music artist who will leave an everlasting impression.
Rachel's music has been aired on several big radio channels in Australia. That is just one reason to contact Rachel and her unlimited creativity. I hade the pleasure to share some moments for an interview with her.

Starting at a very young age and participating to numerous competitions and commissions, Rachel has been crafting her own style with tremendous success.

--- Interview ---

How did you get into being a composer?

I started piano lessons from the age of four, and by the time I was 6 years old I started to create little tunes and write them on manuscript to play to family and friends. By the time I was 12 I performed one of my piano pieces at a school concert, and I was encouraged to audition for the Young Conservatorium for composition. I was successful and from 12 and a half years started studying with composer Stephen Leek. As much as I enjoyed playing music either on piano or percussion which I began at 10, I couldn't help my mind from wondering, 'what if the composer tried this instead' with their melodies and harmony's. So writing my own music my own way seemed to be the natural path to take. I began entering competitions to develop my skill, and attending the Conservatorium of Music for university was a natural step. From there I studied with composer Stephen Cronin for my Bachelor of Music. I've just recently returned part time to complete my Masters of Music studies. Creating music will always be in my life in some form, it is just one of those things that I will always enjoy.

What is your favorite genre you love to work with?

I would have to say, contemporary classical. I like to create emotional and rhythmic music that is still accessible to the wider community. Smaller combinations such as duets, trios or quartets are my favourite.

What is your current project?

Currently I am in the process of forming a community based music ensemble to play works I have already composed, and to workshop brand new creations in the making. It is something I have wanted to do for a few years now, so I'm quite excited!

What does an ordinary day for being a composer look like?

Sometimes commissions can have large gaps in between, so my 'day job' is a piano, percussion, drum kit tutor at a private music studio. I have been teaching for almost 10 years now, and its a job that has its own creative side, helping others learn and explore music they haven't encountered before. It's little things like recognising the tune of' twinkle twinkle' in the melody of 'what a wonderful world' and seeing a students eyes light up when they hear the hidden layer. Composing occurs around the teaching, which can be tricky but ideas will always be processing in the back of my mind, ready for when I sit down and write. I usually have at least one day completely set aside for composing, and if it stretches through the night and weekend and the next work week then I allow it to.

Where will you see yourself in 2014?

I hope to have my music ensemble up and running full speed ahead with a program of new exciting music to share with audiences. A recording of the material would definitely be something I want by 2014 to share with fans.

Is there a music artist you would love to work with?

There are so many amazing artists today in a variety of genres that it is really hard to choose!

What do you miss in today's music industry?

That is a hard one, because I have to admit the music industry today is so vast. There are so many genres and styles of music, so many choices of different concerts or gigs you can go to, and with social networking and Internet there are so many more resources for musicians at a click. It would be nice to have contemporary classical music in equal spot light to pop in the media, but even without I think there will always be fans for each different genre and it will always endure and grow within its own circles.

One of my 'picture this' questions:
You are stuck in traffic BIG time. What do you do?

a) Grab a sheet of paper and start composing.
b) beefing around for the time being.
c) Grab your cell phone and call family/friends.

I would have to say C but if no one answers their phone then probably b!

I wouldn't start writing in that moment because I would get too frustrated I would have to stop once the traffic moves! At times like that I like to observe my surroundings, see what flowers I can see, birds, objects, people, colours, the symbolism around me which moulds into something inspiring later on.


Anonymous said...

Lovely lady.

Great music.

Keep on providing good stuff :)

Bobby J. said...

Hey Chris,

I like seeing all these gifted people on your page.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Amazing music blog.

I am a fan of you now.