Interview with Caroline Shaw




I interviewed one of my absolute favorite composers, American Caroline Shaw, for the latest issue of Magasinet Klassisk.


In September, Ars Nova Copenhagen premiered a terrific new choral work. Over six pages in beautiful layout, I try to open up her music. A music that the Danish music scenes have long been about to discover.


The music is full of discreet vocal techniques, derived from a multitude of variegated sources and composed in a way that somehow sounds harmonious. It sounds like Tallis, Bach and David Lang — and like none of them.


It comes from the body, from the breath and the tired ligaments, and is most of all about creating music with other people. A by-product of feeling like a musician first and composer secind. And then it’s as rare as new classical music full of humor. As she herself concludes:


»In a way, it’s about erasing the lofty criteria for a composer. It’s not really about making the most important work, but about making a gift for those who perform it and for those who are in the room listening. And if that's the end of the job, it's okay.«


Ars Nova singers Hanne Marie le Fevre and Jakob Skjoldborg, as well as the world ensemble’s conductor, Paul Hillier, contribute with comments from the rehearsal room.