As a composer, are you inspired by other art forms? If so which ones?
My first response to this thought provoking question is, architecture. There is an immediacy in the similarities to the tangible structures and music’s emotional realm of the invisible. After a bit of thought, I am happy to announce that the world itself is a great work of art. It sounds cliche already, right? Seriously though, what can be more inspirational than being in the midst of a cultural redefining of art itself? Artists today in all mediums work with the knowledge that what they do will be shaping the future. With that knowledge, many have taken it upon themselves to delight in the arbitrary. Experimenting with any number of novelties to ultimately prove what? That in the end there is no reason beyond beauty, yet no beauty beyond reason. And that idea in itself is enough to inspire my personal contemporary viewpoint of art’s purpose. Pointillist painting is also nice.
Do you use a computer for your work? When did you start?
I’ve used a computer with Sibelius notation software since 1999.
Do you still use paper? What for?
I still use paper because I don’t carry my laptop around too much. The paper is a great way to work out early ideas because it forces your imagination to realize your ideal sounds. Sometimes your imagination is better than any realization.
Does working on a computer affect the way you compose?
The computer interface does not necessarily effect the way I compose, however I find that working on the computer is good for a number of reasons related to ear training and notation. Initially the older orchestral midi sounds required me to develop a thorough awareness of melodic accenting, phrasing and articulations. You really have to exaggerate your score to have a “computer playback” which is musical. Likewise, it is advisable to have a score in which a musician can understand your purpose quickly. Since notation software requires the same musical indications that are standard throughout the world, the computer is a great place to cut your teeth on understanding basic markings, and even more elementary things. On the other hand, what single musician could execute the impossible combinations that a computer will simply hand over like yesterday’s meatloaf?
Are you concerned with a possible loss of craftsmanship because of technology?
I think technology is a tool, and as such will be rendered on par with the mastery of its facilitator.
Jeremiah Bornfield is a composer based in New York City that is fluent in many styles and distinct in formal treatments. Some of his work has been presented at Lincoln Center, SVA Theater, Alvin Ailey Center, Galapagos Art Space, Tenri Cultural Institute and the National Theater Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan. http://www.plrcounterpoint.com