Interview with Ann Cleare

Interview with Ann Cleare

Ann Cleare talks to CMC about her recent Composers’ Prize from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

In an interview recorded in March 2019, composer Ann Cleare spoke to CMC about being the first Irish composer to receive a Composers’ Prize award from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

The award, which is valued at €35,000 and also includes the production of a portrait CD, will enable the composer to produce a CD and DVD of some of her works composed over the past 10 years.

Having good visual documentation is important to her:

… people want to see as well as hear, and particularly with the music I write it explores sound colour and what instruments can do beyond conventional sound production.

Most of my work is probably inspired by non-musical areas. And I think for a long time I was working on the sonic language to articulate that. And I’m still working on that, obviously. There came a point a few years ago where I realised that to communicate the ideas that I’m trying to get across to an audience, that I also need to work on the visual elements.

Ann Cleare also spoke about the need for new kinds of performance spaces for music:

The concert hall is such a limited space. There’s so much potential there - you have a huge stage, you could have an orchestra of about 90 people. You have all this space yet it’s so inflexible in terms of how musicians can move, where the sound can come from, and interacting with the audience.

Asked about the future of music and where composition might be headed, Ann Cleare thinks that being a composer will increasingly involve having to deal with other components such as lighting and staging.

For a lot of composers to really communicate what they want to to say, they’re probably going to have to move more in the direction of integrating other media into sound.


Ann Cleare - Earth Waves (2018)
For solo trombone, voice sextet, speakers and electronics
William Lang (trombone), Ekmeles, David Bird (speakers, electronics, video)

View complete performance here