Mette Nielsen and Matias Vestergård Hansen in KLASSISK music magazine

In the latest edition, the music magazine KLASSISK interview three, young composers Mette Nielsen, Matias Vestergård Hansen, and Lil Lacy. Edition·S has collected some excerpts of the interviews with Mette Nielsen and Matias Vestergård Hansen on the future of young composers, their challenges, and their approach to composition.

Lonely Alien Calling is the title of the portrait of Mette Nielsen, Matias Vestergård Hansen, and Lil Lacy in KLASSISK. The title refers to Mette's quote when telling people she is a composer: “I feel like an alien because most people find the job strange. At first, I have to explain what it is all about”. Matias comments: “Or they say: “so you're the guy in front of the orchestra?” That is never a satisfactory experience but you try to find a common language. In the end, that's what I'm good at”. 

Mette Nielsen · Photo by Toke Bjørneboe

Being a composer can be challenging in several ways. On finding her own voice, Mette is quoted: “It took me a long time to stop worrying about other composer's ideas and just do whatever I wanted to. It is about combining the techniques, you learn, with a certain amount of confidence”. 

Another challenge can be executing the ideas. “I don't think about time. I worry about whether I have the discipline and abilities to realize my ideas because some of them are too abstract for me to grasp how to shape. It is always a process for me to translate things from my head into the real world. I am getting better in time, but I continually experience the ideas never being how I imagined them to be once I have written them down”. 

In a compositional process, you usually go through stages. One is writing down the idea, another is developing it. “The moment you get the idea is amazing, but it is always followed by uncertainty about whether or not it will work. That part of the process can be lonely”, Mette explains. 

Read more about Mette Nielsen and her work here

Matias Vestergård Hansen · Photo by Toke Bjørneboe

On the processes of composing, Matias commented on the loneliness, mentioned by Mette. “I enjoy notation and finding the right way to show what I want to include in the score. There is intimacy – a secret corridor between you and the musician. I don't find it lonely ... or: It is lonely in the same way as when you read a book. It is captivating, and I don't experience the loneliness”. 

But for Matias Vestergård Hansen, the ideas can be a long time underway: “I love the feeling of letting go once I have had an idea stuck in the back of my head for six years and suddenly have the piece that it was meant for. Then I can finally move on!”.

When asked if there are certain norms of being a composer today, Matias elaborates: “The humour is back. Danish Music today is somewhere in between; “I have to write music about snow,” and “I have to write absurd music with a lot of farting noises”. 

Read more about the composer and his work here