Site Search


Other Resources
News Archive






Chris Long Interview

Posted on 05 March 2007. © Copyright 2004-2023 Composition:Today


C:T talks to Chris Long, winner of the Making Music Award at last years British Composer Awards

Chris Long.
Tell us something about your background.

I grew up in Widnes in the North West of England. I played classical guitar from the age of eight. I went on to study music and fine art at the University of Liverpool, studying composition with Stephen Pratt. I have always been split between music and arts. When it came to commit to one, it was composition, although the visual arts remain very important to me. A grant from the Ralph Vaughen Williams Trust enabled me to study composition at postgraduate level and at the University of Newcastle I studied with Agustin Fernandez and Roger Redgate.

Tell us about O Lord, Remember which won the British Composers Awards Making Music Award - what is the piece and what is the award?

The Making Music category of the British Composer Awards recognised music that has been performed by voluntary and amatuer music societies who are represented by Making Music. 'O Lord, Remember' was composed for the City of Birmingham Choir and the CBSO. The piece is based on an anonymous prayer found next to the dead body of child in Ravensbruck concentration camp. It is an extraordinarily powerful prayer of forgiveness. Within the piece it is framed by two excerpts from the requiem mass with the final lines of the prayer forming the final phrases of the piece. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the context of the text, and an initial interpretation may have suggested a more sorrowful musical setting. However, the spirit of the words are completely selfless and look for the positive in the atrocities under which they were composed. On the whole, therefore, the piece is optimistic, the voices uniting in a universal plea for forgiveness.


How did you start composing?

I think I always composed from when I first became interested in music but I didnít start to take it seriously until I was studying.

Who or what has influenced your style as a composer?

The first Ďmoderní composer I was interested in was Lutoslawski. As a visual artist I found his orchestration and textures particularly appealing, but his music has mainly influenced me in terms of harmonic and structural organisation. I love the music of Stravinsky, Ravel and Debussy and, as a student, I was influenced by the philosophy of John Cage. I listen to all types of music from contemporary classical, to indie rock, to jazz.

How did you get your first commission?

I suppose my first commission was for a short cello piece for the Norfolk and Norwich festival which came about through SPNM and Radio 3.

Where do your ideas come from?

From a huge variety of sources. Visual stimuli often set thoughts in motion, as do places, times of day or the weather. I am very much affected by moods. I often spend quite a while meandering through disjointed musical ideas before a piece starts to become more coherent. During this time my ideas about the piece can change dramatically.

Do you have particular techniques - ones you come back to again and again? Tell us a bit about them.

When I sit down to write I generally try to establish a harmonic colour by restricting pitches. This gives me a starting point from which melodic and harmonic material can be derived. I often approach structure in a similar way, stating an ideas several times before adding to it, or developing it. Silence also plays an important part in my music. Having said this, every piece is different, posing different problems and requiring different solutions.

What inspires you to write?

Iím not sure, itís just something I do. I always feel the need to be doing something creative, to be making or building something. It just happens that I focus on composition more than painting or any other creative activity.

What advice would you give to a young composer just starting out?

From where I am in my career I would advise a young composer to take maximum advantage of any opportunities that come your way, no matter how insignificant they may seem. I am a firm believer that you make your own luck, and that if you work hard enough then opportunities will come. In terms of style and content, you must be yourself and compose what you want to compose. This can be difficult when you are trying to attract attention to your work and I often thought I had to compose in a particular way, in a way that would be taken seriously. I have since learnt that there really are no rules.

What are you working on at the moment

Currently Iím working on a choral setting of some William Blake poetry.

Do you have a routine? A place that's special

I like to compose early in the morning. I need to feel awake and alert to compose effectively. I record ideas and thoughts in my sketchbooks which are a very important to me. They are almost like diaries and contain anything from musical ideas, to poetry, to sketches. With a teaching job taking up a lot of my time, my special place is in my head. I compose in my head wherever I am and time at a keyboard is precious.

Do you do other work as well as composing?

I am Head of Music at a high school. When I left college I had the same attitude as any other composition student, to further my composition career no matter what. I tended to look down on teaching. I have since learnt to bring both activities together, composing for my own pupils at well as other youth groups. It is no longer my primary aim to make a living out of composing, although that would be nice! I am more interested in continuing to develop my artistic voice. Teaching keeps my feet on the ground. I can get quite detached from real life when Iím composing. Teaching can be very rewarding and is a nice contrast to working with professional musicians. The only negative aspect is the lack of time I have to compose.

What are your plans for the future?

My immediate plans involve a couple of projects in the pipeline, one for orchestra and one for youth choir and brass band.


An extract from Chris Long's 'O Lord Remember'
Interview by Composition:Today © Copyright 2004-2023

Comments by other Members


Posted by :  Exen at 13:25 on 07 March 2007
"In terms of style and content, you must be yourself and compose what you want to compose." I personally find this almost as an unwritten rule for music and more so of any artist vision no matter its medium. Well said.
Posted by :  carlswanholm at 17:54 on 07 March 2007
Embarrassingly, I need to implement bold, italic and underline texts which I currently cannot do.

I have a PowerBook G4 (OS 10) - are you able to help? or do I need to call Apple (long distance)..

(thanks)
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 10:40 on 11 March 2021
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. 토토사이트
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 08:27 on 16 March 2021
Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. Iíll certainly comeback. 토토
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 11:23 on 20 March 2021
What a thrilling post, you have pointed out some excellent points, I as well believe this is a superb website. I have planned to visit it again and again. 가입머니
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 06:27 on 30 March 2021
This is extremely fascinating substance! I have completely delighted in perusing your focuses and have reached the conclusion that you are right about a hefty portion of them. You are extraordinary. Onewheel Pint Accessories
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 10:24 on 03 April 2021
One present why galore businesses opt for postcards is because they are overmuch cheaper to be prefab and this can forbear a lot of expenses on the lengthened run. Onewheel XR Accessories
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 09:44 on 05 April 2021
Thankyou for sharing the data which is beneficial for me and others likewise to see. Managed IT Support Cheviot Hills Los Angeles, California
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 08:09 on 06 April 2021
Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also 안전사이트
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 10:29 on 02 May 2021
Thankyou for this wondrous post, I am glad I observed this website on yahoo. kanata winter rims
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 23:34 on 03 May 2021
We are truly thankful for your blog entry. You will discover a great deal of methodologies in the wake of going to your post. I was precisely scanning for. A debt of gratitude is in order for such post and please keep it up. สล็อต joker123
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 11:29 on 12 May 2021
This was a shocking post. It has some look at here fundamental data on this subject. eye doctor Coweta
Posted by :  muneer ahmed at 10:33 on 17 May 2021
definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog! [url=https://uk24.trade]바이너리옵션[/url]
Posted by :  jamsebond0 at 18:45 on 17 May 2021
Find the right Luxury hotel for your honeymoon Rawnaq Tourism recommends the Best Maldives Hotels depending on your individual needs
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 06:31 on 24 July 2021
No Deposit Casino Sites 2021 are quite a popular choice for players online, casino with no deposit is a very effective way to play online games without spending any capital start. No Deposit Casino Sites 2021
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 17:31 on 11 August 2021
Love to read it,Waiting For More new Update and I Already Read your Recent Post its Great Thanks. kitchen remodeling contractors near me
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 11:23 on 05 October 2021
very interesting post.this is my first time visit here.i found so mmany interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion..thanks for the post! 먹튀검증업체
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 19:51 on 13 October 2021
now premier league football And many more leagues are already launching with fun. People who support football, investment people like us, in addition to following football stories. Still have to look for websites or applications that are online gambling sites. If we don't know where to play We recommend you to come to UFABET football betting, the best football betting site in this era. ทางเข้า เว็บ 888
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 13:32 on 02 November 2021
This is extremely fascinating substance! I have completely delighted in perusing your focuses and have reached the conclusion that you are right about a hefty portion of them. You are extraordinary.† Home depot health check
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 10:34 on 03 November 2021
I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. สล็อตออนไลน์
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 11:39 on 03 November 2021
Persons appreciate†shopping†for amazing, appealing, fascinating and from time to time attractive aromas for them selves and pertaining to others. This can be executed conveniently along with inexpensively in an on-line perfume shop. Watch cartoons online
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 12:07 on 03 November 2021
Thankyou for sharing the data which is beneficial for me and others likewise to see. shipping containers toowoomba
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 12:50 on 03 November 2021
I think this is one of the most significant information for me. And iím glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, shipping containers toowoomba
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 13:21 on 03 November 2021
For a long time me & my friend were searching for informative blogs, but now I am on the right place guys, you have made a room in my heart! แทงบอล
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 19:56 on 05 November 2021
First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics, i will be always checking your blog thanks. Ppsc jobs
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 12:04 on 06 November 2021
Many homework on the continual hunt along with offstage on the road to winning. Definitely not attached, simple to-fall as a result of wayside; And not investigation, afterward into a path travel toward the black. สล็อตฝากถอนไม่มีขั้นต่ำ
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 12:45 on 06 November 2021
This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. sa game
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 13:17 on 06 November 2021
Interesting topic for a blog. I have been searching the Internet for fun and came upon your website. Fabulous post. Thanks a ton for sharing your knowledge! It is great to see that some people still put in an effort into managing their websites. I'll be sure to check back again real soon. จีคลับ
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 13:44 on 06 November 2021
Your post has those facts which are not accessible from anywhere else. Itís my humble request to u please keep writing such remarkable articles บาคาร่าฝากถอนไม่มีขั้นต่ํา วอเลท
Posted by :  jamseales0 at 11:56 on 09 November 2021
Thanks for Nice and Informative Post. This article is really contains lot more information about This Topic.† FIA jobs
To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .