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An interview with Roxanna Panufnik

How did you get into composing?
It was in my genes for a start but as soon as I started violin lessons aged 3 I was never interested in playing anyone else’s music – only my own improvisations!

Are there any composing/musical projects that you’re particularly looking forward to?
I’m very excited about my current project – setting words by the late great Sir John Tavener for Voce Chamber Choir and ‘cellist Matthew Barley. I’m also researching a big Asian Extravaganza commissioned by National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.

Have you come across any challenges in writing for vocalists as opposed to instrumentalists?
I actually find writing vocal music easier – because with the words you already have 50% of the inspiration there for you!

Do you have a particular process that you follow in composing? Are you systematic or sporadic?!
My attempts are systematic but my inspiration is sporadic!

Are there any artists you particularly admire?
I love the work of Jordi Savall – not only his beautiful playing but his meticulously researched and stunningly presented ancient and world music CDs.

Which composer, alive or dead, would you most like to talk to, and why?
I’d love to talk Synaesthesia with Olivier Messiaen, as I have it too!

What styles/genres of music do you most enjoy composing for?
Anything with voices is my absolute favourite – although I’ve had some very satisfying instrumental experiences, especially with Tasmin Little and the London Mozart Players!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
What spare time?!