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30 seconds interview: Kemal Yusuf

Original article from: http://www.m-magazine.co.uk/genres/classical/30-seconds-interview-kemal-yusuf/

Rising composer Kemal Yusuf has been making music since the age of seven, drawn to the sounds and textures he could create.

Following formal training at the Royal Academy of Music, he’s now armed with all the tools he needs to compose compelling new works.

Kemal’s unique ear and loose approach to genre has seen him successfully dabble in musical theatre, jazz, filmscores and now large-scale orchestral works, with his first commission coming from the Norfolk and Norwich Festival last year.

The piece, Cain, was premiered in May 2016 by the Norfolk and Norwich Festival Chorus and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, becoming the first new commission to be aired at the festival for some years.

He’s also the co-founder and artistic director of the London Graduate Orchestra, which offers emerging graduates the opportunity to perform in a high standard orchestra before entering the professional field.

We spend 30 seconds with him to learn more about his work…

I first started making music because…
I had to. It’s more that I felt an impulse to create, and sounds and textures were incredibly striking to me from a young age.

I have been making music since…
Around aged seven.

My music is…
Cracked history.

You’ll like my music if you listen to…
Schnittke, Ligeti or Kenny Wheeler

My favourite venue is…
The Berlin Konzerthaus. Equally Wilton’s music hall in London is pretty stunning.

Music is important because…
There’s nothing like it; it’s a staggering display of human creativity that binds people experientially.

My biggest inspiration is…
Chocolate.

My dream collaboration would be…
A tough one; Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra would be great. Equally, working with Barbara Hannigan would be a dream. She’s a formidable force in contemporary music.

To try me out, listen to my piece…
Psalm 91, or Sixteen Thoughts.

If I wasn’t making music I’d be…
Bored and alone… but probably doing something else creative, like writing words.

In 10 years’ time I want to be…
Happy with my work and happy with others.

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