What's it like to be Victor Lazzarini?

A short, informal question and answer interview with Victor Lazzarini.

1. How and when did you get interested in composing?

When I was 14, I attended a vacation course on composition and orchestration. At that time my musical training was limited to piano and music theory classes. That course provided me with a whole new universe of music making, which was really exciting.

2. Is composing your 'day job' or do you do something else as well?

I am a Senior Lecturer in Music at NUI Maynooth.

3. Where do you mostly get your ideas?

Mostly from music itself: sonic shapes, motifs, textures etc.

4. What are you working on at the moment?

I am planning a new electro-acoustic piece for an exciting new spatial sound diffusion system that is being built in Germany.

5. Describe your typical working day.

I do quite a bit of teaching, but also do research work. Depending on the day of the week, I dedicate myself to either of these two things, or else I compose.

6. What is it like hearing a new piece played for the first time?

It's very nice. Of course, by the time it gets to the concert hall you have heard it many times.

7. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

It's difficult to say, but the work I did during my doctorate was very rewarding. I then had the time to write a large work for orchestra and soloists and writing it was one of the top moments. But I am enjoying myself at the moment, as I start to 'break in' a little bit more in the Irish scene after eight years of living here.

8. What has been the lowlight of your career so far?

I think I have been fortunate enough not to have had many problems in my career.

9. What is your greatest ambition?

To be able to live off composition -- it will not happen soon, I am afraid...

10. Which musician in history do you most admire and why?

As far as composers go, I would say that Stravinsky is probably the most complete musician of the 20th century.

11. Which present-day musician do you most admire and why?

A few months back, I would have said Ligeti, but since he passed away, I am not too sure... I admire the English composer Trevor Wishart because I share his interest in computer programming and composition.

12. Which period of history would you most like to have lived in and why?

Now. I would not trade modern life with any other period. Most of the things I enjoy doing in music would not be possible in any other era.

13. What is the best thing about being a composer?

I am not sure there is one. I just feel lucky that my 'day job' lets me work as a composer, even if part-time, and I do not have to be an insurance salesman like Charles Ives.

14. What is the worst thing about being a composer?

It is difficult to live off composition.

15. If you weren't a composer, what other career might you have chosen?


16. What is your concept of heaven?

Have enough commissions and performances to be able to live off composition without having to compromise your style of writing.

17. What is your concept of hell?

Work as an insurance salesman.

18. What is your favourite food?

I have ecletic tastes -- it depends on the occasion. Nouvelle cuisine is one food I like.

19. If someone gave you three months off with unlimited travel and living expenses, what would you do?

I would try to dedicate myself to writing music exclusively. But it would also help if I had an outlet for it (i.e. someone to perform it).

20. If you could have one thing in the world that would really help you as a composer, what would it be?

Having more opportunities for performances and to write music for a variety of forces.