Who? Christine Cornwell (27)
From? Connecticut, USA
Studies? Composition, Master’s
What? Is one of the students whose work will premiere at the Codarts Composers Festival (22 and 23 May, at Maaspodium).
What is your contribution to the Codarts Composers Festival?
“I created two pieces for a theatrical setting, and an installation. I am also co-composer of a performance piece. In all, 11 works by students will premiere at the festival. At Codarts, the Composition department is a collaboration between Classical Music and Jazz. I’m from the classical side.”
What sort of music do you compose?
“It depends. Usually, there is a concept of various disciplines—so not just music—consisting of elements of choices and chances. My style is rather surrealistic and I use both instruments and electronics. And often voices too, voices that either sing or speak. My pieces are usually atmospheric; the music creates a place.
When you’re composing, you’re adding your material to a tradition. To me, composing is mainly about how to express myself. One of my new pieces is sort of a social experiment, based on a personal question, in which perception and connection are two important elements. The piece is called Innovation and is an invitation to the audience. There is no stage: everyone enters the same space. I don’t know how the audience will respond, so that’s a risk. This piece is definitely influenced by my personal life, but also by the research I did for my Master’s.”
Why did you choose Codarts?
“I was looking for an institute with opportunities for crossovers. I saw on the Codarts website that the school offers a wide variety of study programmes. I’m interested in all departments, including World Music, Dance, and Circus Arts. The introduction day felt good: warm and hospitable. I now know that I made the right choice in coming here. Everything that I wanted, turned out to be possible—there is so much you can do here. The teachers from the composition department have inspired and encouraged me. These past two years went by so quickly.”
What is your favourite spot in Rotterdam?
“Can it be an area? I like Zuid, with Feijenoord and the NIFFO Galerie/Recycle Studio. And also the Fenixloods in Katendrecht. Last year, I did a crossover project with music, dance, and circus students from Codarts, Artbreak.
Rotterdam is a lot like Birmingham, England. It is also a ‘second’ city where industrial buildings are being converted into creative spaces. A cool place. I did my Bachelor’s in Birmingham—violin—and also met my boyfriend there. I followed him to Amsterdam and we now live in IJburg. I’m in Rotterdam three or four days a week and I feel at home here too. I’ve lived in the United States, Belgium, and Great Britain before moving to the Netherlands and I’d love to stay here after I’ve completed my studies.”
Codarts to me is…
… a number of buildings, places, connected through people who want to lead a creative life. Each of these places has its own atmosphere, its own vibe— you feel it when you’re there. Codarts offers many possibilities and you can really grow here as an artist.”