Tell us about your time here
I was drawn to studying music at Edinburgh as it offered a well-rounded program – we had a chance to study and explore a wide range of subjects in the first two years, and then to specialise for our final two years. I was also drawn to the Music in the Community programme, which was an opportunity to have some first-hand experience of working within the community – working with children with learning disabilities, some education programs in local schools, and visiting Bosnia-Herzegovina for a music education program at the Pavarotti Centre in Mostar. This was a wonderful opportunity, and similar work has continued to be an important part of my musical life.
I also had an opportunity to study abroad for the third year of my degree – at Queen’s University in Canada. It was here that I had my first composition lessons, and an introduction to electroacoustic music composition that I continued to study for my final year. There were only about eighteen or so students in each year, which allowed us to get to know one another very well. A highlight was ‘Wagner Week’ – our year went out to the countryside to stay in a manor for a long weekend, and around a fire, with free-flowing wine, we listened to the complete Ring Cycle.
I also made some life-long friends both from the Faculty of Music and from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) where I collaborated with some artists for new projects. My mentor in Edinburgh was the Georgian composer Marina Adamia, who really opened my ears in new ways and ignited my path as a composer.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving
After graduating in 2002, I moved to New York where I later studied composition at the Manhattan School of Music for a Masters degree under the mentorship of composer Julia Wolfe. I’ve been based in the US since that time, spending four of those years in Chicago where I was Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Collaborating with artists from other fields is a major part of my work, from filmmakers and visual artists, to choreographers and sound artists.