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An interview with Kim Porter

How did you get into composing?
From quite a young age I used to write songs which I inflicted on my relatives for their birthdays and anniversaries, often setting beautiful poems written by my grandfather. I wrote a carol while I was at school, which I entered for the Nationwide TV Carol Contest. It sunk without trace unfortunately, but I remember my mum trying to record me singing it in the kitchen of our farm with three of my friends.  We got terrible giggles, the crosser she got the more we laughed. It took us hours! 

Do you have a particular process that you follow in composing? Are you systematic or sporadic?
I’m not at all systematic.  Ideas come sometimes quickly or more often, very slowly.  If I’m setting a text, the colour of the piece is clear to me usually very early on. Writing music for theatre productions is something I’ve loved doing.  The music affects the drama in ways you can’t imagine until it happens and actors respond to it without really realising they’re doing so. 

Which composer dead or alive would you most like to talk to and why? 
I wouldn’t mind spending some time with Sibelius in Finland.  I adore his symphonies and their fabulous textures and colours. I think he quite enjoyed a bit of lobster and champagne so we’d have a lovely time. 

What do you do in your spare time?
I live in County Durham and walking is a big part of our lives here. It is a really beautiful bit of the world to be in.  I often try to pace through a composition that I’m working on as I walk, like Peter Maxwell Davies used to do.  But unlike him, I usually end up thinking about food and recipes and what I’d like to create in the kitchen instead. No discipline at all!