Can you tell us about your musical influences?
My musical influences are very varied and not restricted to one genre or type of music, but there are a few main strands of which I’m aware. Classical music of all eras, which I discovered in my early teens – examples are too numerous to list, but to pick a few that may have an obvious effect on my music: Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Birtwistle, Stockhausen, Bartok. Also jazz, particularly Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and John Coltrane. My earliest musical memories were of Gaelic songs and other Scottish or Irish folk, and artists like Duncan Chisolm, Julie Fowlis and Kathleen MacInnes continue to make a lasting impression. Then there’s Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Queen…
What are you working on at the moment?
With my regular librettist Louise Welsh, I’m working on a new opera based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s only at the development stage so far – these projects can take a while to put together – but we want to take a fresh look at the play in the context of the opera-writing practice we’ve developed together over the last 15 years and give it a more modern sensibility, while preserving its Renaissance/Baroque roots. I’m also working on quite a few solo vocal works, with various approaches to texts and accompaniments (ranging from electronics to strings, harmonium, piano or nothing at all).
What are you looking forward to most about Music Patron?
I’m looking forward to discovering new ways of connecting with listeners, meeting the other composers and music creators involved, and sharing ideas with patrons. I like the idea that this can be a bit of an experiment into how we interact with each other, who composers are writing for, and whether we can build a different kind of infrastructure for the creation of new music.
Watch Stuart’s short video on Music Patron: