In Conversation with Anna Meredith

Anna Meredith is a composer, producer and performer of both acoustic and electronic music. Her sound is frequently described as ‘uncategorisable’ and ‘genre-defying’ and straddles the different worlds of contemporary classical, art pop, electronica and experimental rock – or as The Guardian described it majestic bangers”. Her music has been performed everywhere from the BBC First Night of the Proms to flashmob body-percussion performances in the M6 services. We spoke to her about her work, inspirations and the upcoming festival.

Where do you draw inspiration for your compositions, and what was your inspiration for Barchan?

I always like really small starting points for things, in some ways the smaller the better. I like ideas that give me an immediate musical response and can help shape or inform what I’m wanting to write. With Barchan I knew I wanted to write a piece with a sense of slow evolution and a steadier sense of energy than how I might normally write. I came across in a book this description of a Barchan, which is a sand dune that can travel hundreds of miles. The sand that forms the dune is always changing but the overall shape remains the same. It seemed a perfect fit.

What excites you about Ringside Symphony?

When handled correctly and with someone as experienced and creative as André at the helm, I think reimagining the performance context for existing and new repertoire can completely change your experience, allowing you to zone in on material you might never have heard and rethink your relationship with the performers. This looks like such an amazing setting and I can’t wait to hear my piece in it.

Is there anything else in the festival that looks particularly interesting/exciting for you?

André’s done such an exciting curation of the festival with so many brilliant commissions, I’m going to try and get to as much as I can.

Catch Anna Meredith’s Barchan at Ringside Symphony with Shiva Feshareki and André de Ridder on December 6 at York Hall, as part of the Spitalfields Music Festival 2018.