Meet Crystalla, a multi-genre composer, pianist, singer and conductor with Greek/Cypriot heritage, whose favourite snack is tea and toast. She's one of our Magnum Opus composers for 2023.
WHAT EXCITED YOU MOST ABOUT BEING PART OF MAGNUM OPUS?
I am most excited about the team working on Magnum Opus, including composers Dani Howard and Raymond Yiu. There is something for everyone at Britten Sinfonia and I really admire their dedication towards making new music accessible, vibrant and engaging. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with incredibly talented musicians and I can’t wait to bring new, exciting music to life collectively.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCE SO FAR?
One of my biggest musical influences is Kate Bush. She is a classic example of a multitalented, varied artist. Not only is her voice extremely versatile with a soprano, other worldly quality, but she also understood movement and how to engage with her audience. Her performances were often heightened by her stage presence, expressions and movement. I love how she blends classical, musical theatre and pop.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO COMPOSE?
I wouldn’t say a specific source inspires me to compose. It is more of a gut feeling I have. I am constantly creating and have an active mind full of musical ideas. Every sound in nature that I experience in my day-to-day life turns into music; I am always humming phrases, libretto and lyrics pour out of me daily, sitting at a piano always leads to me improvising and composing a whole new work. I cannot go a day without some form of music being very present.
WHAT SORT OF MUSIC DO YOU LIKE TO WRITE?
I love all areas of music-making ranging from classical, jazz, musical theatre, opera, pop and film. I like blending different influences and styles in order to create a unique sound. For example, I often incorporate influences from my Greek-Cypriot heritage through traditional, folk music. I also love popular culture and grew up listening to classic rock bands from the 60s-80s such as The Kinks, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, and I love the vibrancy of 80s disco music. I like taking these broader influences and reinventing them through the lens of contemporary classical music.