• Spotted!

    Spotted: Peter Cavallo – Rainy Day

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track by Australian composer Peter Cavallo from Camberra. Peter has studied composition with Composer/ Orchestrator Alain Mayrand and mainly makes music for piano and strings.

    The track Rainy Day is taken from the EP with the same name which was released in January of 2020.

    This question will be a quote from you:Tell us something about the track! (Could be: What is is about? Is there a story behind it? Funny anecdote from the recording. How did you compose it? etc.)

    Tell us something about your track Rainy day!
    Rainy Day was actually recorded while it was raining outside. This may not sound unusual but at the time it was written Australia was going through a drought and a bad fire season. So, when I heard the rain outside while I was playing I thought I would dedicate this tracks title to the rainy day. It was recorded on my Yamaha upright grand in my home studio. 

    Thank you for the music Peter!

    For more information, please check out these links:
    Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Peter Cavallo – Adagio for violin, Romanza No.36

    Today I’m introducing you to Australian composer Peter Cavallo located in Canberra (the capital, for those of you who thought it was Sidney or Melbourne). Peter is an award winning composer who writes music for film and television as well as for his own pleasure.

    My love for the violin and the entire String family fuels my passion for this instrument to be heard in all of its beauty when I compose. I mainly write in a modern classical style moving away from traditional form and focusing more on freedom of movement within my music.

    Tell us something about your track Adagio for violin, Romanza No.36!
    Adagio for Violin – Romanza No.36 is the first of a collection of solo string single releases I am doing over the next couple of months to celebrate my passion for writing for this wonderful instrument and its player Joni Fuller – Violinist. Joni was chosen because she has the most beautiful touch and control of any violinist that I have worked with in the past. She is truly a gift to this world and must be heard.

    Adagio for Violin is a romantic work and has in it all the elements of romance. I tried to think about all of the emotions and senses that are involved in romantic events in our lives and this is what was produced as a result – Romanza No.36 (because it’s not always the first time you get it right).  It was written at the piano and once a few ideas were cemented in my mind I just pressed record and played the piano. I rather prefer to just play rather than score all of my notes on paper as this makes things too rigid. After that as I sit and listen I can hear the violin lines in my head and then pick up the manuscript and start penning down the lines I hear until it’s all done. I then send the file and score to Joni and she records at her studio in the UK and sends it back to me to be mixed and mastered. You know a track is going to be good when you suffer no problems at all during the whole process and with this track that was the case.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Peter!

    For more information, please check out these links:
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  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Angel Ruediger

    New year, but my theme from last year goes on and we move on to the Brazilian piano artist Angel Ruediger!

    What’s your real name? 
    Angela Ruediger

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    “Angel” is one of my nicknames.

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I’m from Brazil, and at  the moment I’m based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well? 
    I started to have classical piano lessons at the age of nine and never stopped playing since then. Piano is the only instrument I play.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    I asked my parents to have piano lessons. I was an unquiet child, and liked to make many things at the same time (which isn’t necessarily a good thing)

    How long have you been making piano music?
    I started to compose my own tunes since the second year I was taking my classical piano lessons, it was a kind of relaxing moment since I really took the piano lessons seriously and studied it about two/three hours per day, almost everyday.

    Tell us something about that moment you realised you could make songs yourself!  
    It came spontaneously after I started to learn classical piano. No effort, no tension. I got two passions from  playing the piano at that time: learning pieces from Liszt and Chopin (in time)  and composing. 

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    Classical Music: Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, Bach, Mozart, Mahler, Satie, Barber and Debussy
    Modern Classical music: Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, Peter Cavallo, Gavin Luke , Joep Beving,  Ólafur Arnalds, Carol Comune, and the wonderful Sophie Hutgins.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s?
    Not really. I usually start my “piano routine” with a lot of practice (scales and arpeggios) and then composing. If a new composition is finished, I play it until I feel its “fluency” is good enough so it can be recorded.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken? 
    I don’t follow any rules and I don’t see them, have I’ve missed anything? In fact, this streaming era  is so democratic. The action of “making music”  couldn’t be more free of rules. Of course there are a lot of not good stuff, but there are really great new composers rising, too.

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I record my tracks by myself at home

    What’s your take on sampled instruments? 
    I’m totally open to every kind of instrument if it means to make music with quality. I’ve got some ambient/piano tracks I made all by myself, and already got on my 2021 schedule some collabs with artists who use sampled instruments…but definitely acoustic piano is my thing.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    Yes, many thanks for inviting me to this interview, Johan. I really feel honoured. I also have to say that I love your music. And I would like to finish this interview  mentioning a quote from Oscar Wilde I’m really fond of:
    “…This is why music is the perfect type of art. Music can never reveal its ultimate secret.” 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    Depends on the day. Mainly it comes from my soul, but sometimes  from my guts.

    Thank you very much for this Angel!

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Matt Tondut

    Today we’ll dig deeper into the mind of Australian composer Matthew Tondut. Enjoy!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I was born in Western Australia and though I have moved around the state a little over my life I have now settled about 15 minutes from the hospital i was born in.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I think I started “Playing” the piano when i was but 8 but was certanly attempting to play from as young as i can remember. I grew up in a musical household and was taught to read music by my Nan and my dad at home. As soon as I learned the basics i was hooked.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    Growing up watching my parents play the piano and guitar and also my Nan playing the piano it was just a ntural occurence for me to want to copy them and do the same.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    The majority of my time spent at the piano has been playing classical music or instrumental covers though i havent released anything of the sort. Composing and releasing my own piano pieces is something new for me and only something i have really started doing the last couple of years. I have used the skill set in other areas of music creation and am very thankful of the music foundation that piano has afforded me. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    I actually found song writing and composition far easier on the guitar than the piano. I started writing folky ballads  when i was about 14 and entered an all ages songwriting competition where i placed 3rd. The process of performing the tracks publically and have the small amount of recognition was all it took to encourage me to keep going and keep creating.  

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I am so lucky to be part of an amazing community of very talented artists and freinds. There are so many composers around me that are a million times better than me that I look up to and am constantly inspired by. Jesse Brown, Peter Cavallo, Holly Jones, Angel Ruediger & Juan Maria Solare are but a few of the incredibly talented artists that inspire me. I am also a huge fan of Ambient music and often like to blend the two genres together when creating my own pieces, Jonathan Warman created an EP called Lull which really stuck with me and was also a direct inspiration for this piece.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s?
    Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie gets quite a few repititions in my house hold. Mainly because it is a really lovely piece but also because it is my wifes favourite so is often on the requests.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    All of them! I really don’t stick to any rules in my music creation process. I create what ever I feel like at the time and what sounds good to me. For me, if i think too hard on what I can and cant do with music then i will get stuck and create nothing or rubbish. Obviously there needs to be an understanding of composition which will make it easier to make a more harmonious piece at the end but on the same sense, treat it for what it is, a creative expression and do what makes you happy.

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I have my own studio at home and do all my recording mixing and the majority of the mastering as well.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments? –
    I have a huge library of VST’s and am a massive fan of Native Instruments. I like and use both options. My piano isnt in my studio but is in my main living room which is quite open with high ceilings so recording on the main piano is nice but can also have its challenges. The main challenge of moving my recording equipment into the main living room and having it quiet enough to record.

    The last question is asked by my 6 year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?
    Great question! I guess the answer is My head, My Heart, My History and My Desires of the future. Or if that desont satisfy the mind of your son then the more literal answer would be From the speakers 🙂

    Thank you very much for this Matt!

    For more information about Matt, check out these links
    Facebook / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Alstad

    A while back I wrote about the track When we lost it all by the composer and piano player Alstad. And today; we go behind the piano to get to know the person behind the track a bit better!

    What’s your real name? 
    My name is Cory Alstad

    How did you come up with your artist name? 
    When I started producing instrumental piano-music, I decided to separate my other music (mostly singer/songwriter stuff with full band, studio recordings, etc) from this particular music. So under ‘Alstad’ at this point, the music will all be instrumental and will feature piano as the main instrument.

    Where are you from? And where do you live? 
    I’m a Canadian and have always lived in Canada. I grew up in a few different places, but spent most of my early life in Winnipeg, MB, which is in central Canada. Years later, my wife and 3 kids moved to where we live now about 14 and a half years ago. We live in a city called “Langley” which is basically kind of a suburb of Vancouver. 

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well? 
    I’ve played piano for many years…I started lessons when I was 7 years old and have played ever since. My parents forced me to take piano lessons, even later on when I begged them to quit! Now I’m thankful that they wouldn’t let me, but we had lots of fights about it…I can play a few other instruments as well, but not at the same level as the piano. I can play guitar, a bit of the drums, bass guitar and can ‘fake it’ on a few other  instruments. I’m also a singer. 

    Tell us about how you started playing music.  
    I grew up in a home where my dad was quite musical, on the piano and with vocals. I took lessons from a young age, on. I did the whole classical “Royal Conservatory of Music” route and actually ended up going to the University of Manitoba School of Music, where I completed a Bachelor of Music. But from the very beginning I was drawn to songs that I heard on the radio and loved. I have a good ear for music, and so I would often  learn the songs by ear and focus on that in my practicing, much to the annoyance of my piano teachers! I would also often ask them to play a piece that I was supposed to learn, so that I could have a head-start in learning the piece by ear! As I grew older and developed as a musician, I began to write music as well and that quickly became a real passion for me, which it continues to be, today. I also grew up attending church and was very much involved musically in that context, as I continue to be. 

    How long have you been making piano music? 
    Probably for 30 years or so.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself! 
    I think that I was writing/making music from very early on – writing all sorts of terrible songs on the piano at a young age! But, they got better as I got older. I think that one of the turning points for me was when I was attending a college near Winnipeg (before my university days) and I showed my music professor a piece that i had written. He loved it and was super encouraging to me and urged me to continue down that path. i think that was a really good ’nudge’ in my life and I started to take it more seriously after that. Having someone believe in your music is such an important thing in any musicians life, I think.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I would have to say that Olafur Arnalds is one of my favourites. He’s fantastic. I also really love the music of Joep Beving, Peter Cavallo, Nils Frahm – and many others!

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s? 
    Hmmm. I made up a fun arrangement of “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson a few years ago with a guitarist friend of mine, so I often will jam to that!

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I think that it’s good to know the rules before you break them. But I think there are lots of rules that can be broken. Of course, part of the challenge is, depending on what genre you’re in, the rules change 🙂 If you’re writing a piece in the baroque era/genre, you’re going to have to be careful about sticking to their rules, or else you’re not going to actually be making baroque music. I’m drawn to chords that have dissonances to them. Like a suspension 4 chord (say a Gsus) that still has the third in it – so you’ve got that beautiful tension of an 11th chord (without the 7th and 9th necessarily). So maybe you’d call that a G add 4…lots of subjectivity around chord labels. I think that anyone who claims that there are hard and fast rules about what can be included or not included in music isn’t correct. It can all be music – it may just not be great music 🙂 

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    With my Alstad stuff (piano instrumental) I started out collaborating with a friend, but for the last little while I’ve been doing it all on my own in my little studio in my garage. So very much a solo thing.

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    I love sampled instruments! I use them all the time. There are so many legit sounding instruments out there right now and it’s never been easier to have a great sounding piece/album without needing to do it in a big studio with a real piano, etc., which costs a lot of money.  Obviously, using a real piano is ALWAYS ideal – sometimes just for the feel of it (which of course affects how you’ll play the piece) if for nothing else. But there are lots of great sampled instruments out there.

    Anything else you want to share? 
    I appreciate the chance to be part of this blog! If people are interested in my music they can definitely check me out on Spotify, Apple Music, or any other music platform. Also, I curate a great little playlist called Chill Evening Music that’s filled with beautiful and reflective instrumental music. 

    The last question is asked by my 6 year oldson
    Where do all your songs come from? 
    Ha ha – beautiful question! I think that my songs come from my heart. I really believe that we’ve all been made to create and it’s one of the ways that we speak about the things of the heart and the soul. Words often don’t do a good job of articulating what is going on in our inner lives and so music can really help us there. There’s an old, obscure passage in the Bible that says that God has placed eternity on the human heart. I think that when we make music, we are reaching for that eternity – we’re made for it and can’t help ourselves. So, I think that my songs come from a deep place of longing and of reaching towards the Divine! 

    Thanks for participating Cory!

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