Ed is one of the composers selected for our Opus 1 scheme for 2023. Here he takes the Opus 1 Q&A challenge:
How did you get into composition?
My journey as a composer began with a love of rock, disco and jazz fusion, when I started writing my own songs on a very basic notation software platform, largely relying on my ear (and some pretty terrible midi playback) to make musical decisions. They say that notation software shouldn’t be used as a compositional tool - something I very much agree with at this stage in my career - but, being completely honest, I wouldn’t be where I am without it.
What sort of music do you like to write?
I like to write music that deals with varying degrees of viscosity; music that makes its way between different densities, where melodic motion is stretched and contracted. In ensemble settings, I like writing pieces where every effort of the particular has consequences for the collective, with individuals pulling the musical mass this way and that, each time slightly reconfiguring the course of the music. While perhaps more easily achieved with a tightly organised, more dictatorial approach to notation, recently I’ve been exploring ways to give performers more agency in realising this. My music is significantly influenced by the output of 20th- and 21st- century philosophy.
What excites you most about being part of Opus 1?
I’m most excited about the structure of the programme, being able to workshop my music with the incredible musicians of the Britten Sinfonia over an extended period of time. Of course, it’s possible to learn a lot from organology books and scores, but there’s always so much inside knowledge that’s missing. This is a chance to collaborate with performers and gain a real familiarity with each of the instruments I’m writing for - and the instrumentations available are both really fun.
What 3 pieces of music would you have to have on your desert island?
John Coltrane Ascension
György Ligeti Clocks and Clouds
Dieter Ammann Gran Toccata
What's your favourite snack?
Usually something beige and stodgy!
Ed Driver is a British composer currently based in London. He read music at the University of Birmingham, where he studied with Michael Zev Gordon and Ryan Latimer, and upon graduation was awarded the COMPASS Composition Prize in association with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He is currently studying with Kenneth Hesketh and Dai Fujikura for a master’s degree in composition at the Royal College of Music, where he is an H R Taylor Charitable Trust Scholar and holds a Vaughan Williams Bursary.
Listen to Ed's music on his Soundcloud page, and learn more about his works on his website Ed Driver | Composer – Composer (eddrivercomposer.com)