Q&A with Alistar & Thora of s t a r g a z e

With Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 just around the corner we’ve been catching up with the artists and ensembles involved to find out about what to expect at their performances and what inspires them to create.

Here’s Alistair Sung (Cello) and Thora Sveinsdottir (Viola) of s t a r g a z e talking about his involvement in the festival…

How have you found working with André as Artistic Curator of this festival?

AS: Great. André has so much experience in such an eclectic range of musical styles that his input as a curator is always really interesting. In s t a r g a z e we usually work with André on single, specific projects so it’s also nice to be able to take a step back and experience so many of his musical tastes converging in one place and all at once.

TS: Very exciting, André is bringing so many interesting artists from a vide range of musical styles together. s t a r g a z e will get the opportunity to collaborate with some exceptional artists. Some collaborations will be new to stargaze and some will continue to grow and develop during this festival.

What’s your involvement in the festival?

AS & TS: We’ll be performing in the s t a r g a z e concert Renegade New Classical with Daniel Brandt, Nik Colk Void and Qasim Naqvi, as well as during the House of Monteverdi concert performing works by Anna Thorvaldsdottir.

What can audiences expect from your performances in three words?

AS: Diverse!

TS: Electroacoustic, experimental, reinterpretations, collaborations

How do you define the music you create?

AS: s t a r g a z e is a group of musicians with a fairly wide range of musical tastes and I think that comes through in the artists we work with and the music we create. Unfortunately it’s also tricky to define. There’s certainly a strong electronic element that comes through and I think our foundation in classical music is also evident. Above all there’s an infectious level of enthusiasm amongst the whole ensemble for whatever we’re working on at that moment…So perhaps ‘enthusiastic-electro-classical’?… although that description also sounds like cult music…

TS: s t a r g a z e is an ensemble consisting of members with background in both classical and popular music. The way we create music together is though workshops where improvisation is a big part of our creative process. Our inspiration comes from contemporary music and the artists we are working with at the time. s t a r g a z e looks to create new sound worlds and blurring the lines between different genres.

Other than the events you’re involved in which Spitalfields Music Festival event are you looking forward to the most?

AS: I know it’s going to be popular but I’m really pumped for the In the Light of Air concert. I only recently discovered the meditative works of Pauline Oliveros so I’m really curious to hear them. I also really love the music of Anna Thorvaldsdottir and have only heard In the Light of Air online so am excited to experience it live. Plus it’ll all be performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra! Awesome.

TS: There are so many interesting concerts on this festival I would like to see, one of them being the concert titled In the Light of Air.

Best gig you’ve ever seen?

AS: Cello-nerd moment: Jakob Koranyi playing the Kodaly solo sonata in a small town in Sweden.

TS: Too many great concerts to choose from but the most memorable were about all the concerts I managed to see at the Michelberger festival in Berlin last year.

You can hear Alistair Sung and Thora Sveinsdottir perform as part of s t a r g a z e at House of Monteverdi on Saturday 2 December, 5pm and at Renegade New Classical on Wednesday 6 December, 8pm. Book Now!