> [Archived] Interviews
RRM 25 - Interview with composer Sebastian Androne
Do you remember when you first heard about Radio România Muzical or, possibly, when you first heard our station?
At the Conservatory I think it was the first time, during college I was contacted by someone from Radio with the idea of writing some jingles for Radio România Muzical and, obviously, then I was much more aware of the existence of this radio. In addition, some teachers advised us to listen because some pieces of contemporary music were being played.
Speaking of collaborations with us, you were my first guest in the Horizons section, which was then called Three Answers About You, and we even went through our discussion before I entered the studio now to hear each other on the phone. It was a very dense dialogue. I learned a lot about you then. By the way, the stated purpose of the column is precisely this, to be a small portrait of the guest, but this was happening in 2017. What important personal and professional events have taken place in your life in the past years?
It seems like an eternity, but at the same time, it seems like it was yesterday. I think I had an interview with you right after I got married and a few months later I finished my PhD - which was a great release. Other important events, of course, were moving to Switzerland with the idea of starting a second master's degree. At that time I did not suspect that we would stay, at that time we did not suspect that we would have a baby in a year away from leaving Romania and, at the same time, we did not suspect that a pandemic would start. A particularly important turn was the beginning of this master's degree in Zurich, which gave me not only new information, but a completely new perspective on what it means to be a musician. I am more than grateful for everything I learned in Romania. I studied both in Paris and in Birmingham through ERASMUS scholarships and at the initiative of Romanian teachers who almost kicked me in the back to study in the West - and they did well because I didn't want to leave. - and I could see different types of education systems, pedagogy, stylistic influences, etc. But, until Zurich, I didn't have this big revelation and ... that's what I meant, that in Romania I learned a lot technically; From a technical point of view, all the teachers I interacted with - in Birmingham or Paris and even in Switzerland - were more than satisfied. A Birmingham teacher even said, "What would we, the teachers here, do without the Eastern Europeans who come and raise the level of technology ?!" And this gave me a sort of national pride that made me blind at the time to certain qualities that the institutions and teaching systems there had. And herein Switzerland, these things are obvious, and they refer to the things that may matter more than the technique, things like interacting with a living audience, awareness of the tools, techniques, qualities that must be you have them in an interconnected world. You can't be the composer who spends 10 hours, like I did in the office, and expect everyone to come and sing your music just because it's great. That's not enough! And more than that, I started studying film music. Or, here it's all about collaboration, communication techniques, presenting your music, addressing a non-musician, telling him how you can use your music to help that project, to make it better. I didn't learn these things in Romania and I couldn't have done itbecause that wasn't the goal. And that's why I say that it helped me both professionally in terms of the composer of film music, theater and video games this dimension that I want to develop, and in the secondary plan - let's call it secondary, that it is not necessarily secondary , it's personal - seeing a high professional level of teachers; the fact that each of them knew 4-5 languages, that they insisted that the student is not a disciple, but an opponent, someone he wants to elevate to the same level somehow ... things I have seen in Romania only by certain teachers, mentors that I was lucky to have, not by all. But here, somehow, it was a unitary thing, a constant brainstorming. You didn't see a student missing for a reason ... like we did, because we didn't feel like it or because we thought we were bored. There was no pressure of absences, the students came knowing that it was in their interest, I did not receive grades, I did not have the stress of the test, which again was very strange for me, who was always competitive. There were so many changes and I had to get out of my comfort zone ... because I could quickly write something for the orchestra and ready and the teachers would ask me "but why orchestra for this project?" And I stayed ... just because I was comfortable?
You seem to have connected to the present and to some probably entrepreneurial communication techniques, as you said, and yes, it does seem like a change of perspective. From your perspective as a musician, what does the radio landscape look like in Switzerland, in the area where you are, in Zurich?
From what I've noticed, it's a fairly accessible environment. Only because I, at the University, had a project in which I had to collaborate with some colleagues to make a radio play - here there is a long tradition in this direction - and it was a pleasure to do it, yes. even people from the management of some important radio stations came to listen to our projects. And they probably even contacted some of their colleagues if they wanted to work with them. So, from this point of view, I think it's a much stronger environment and a lot more people are accessing the radio than I've noticed in Romania.
You mentioned a little earlier a collaboration with us, with Radio România Muzical. You composed some very nice fast signals for us and I was curious to know how the writing process went, because it is some very special music, which should have a very clear, very concise message. And although it may seem easy, I find it very difficult to say in a few seconds what you set out to do. How did the process go for you?
I totally agree that it is extremely difficult and I remember that I was in the fourth year when someone on the radio contacted me and asked me to write some jingles, and I was telling my teacher, Dan Dediu ... "Mr. 'Professor, I've been waiting for days to get the gist of what I want to say in just a few seconds!' And he admitted that it was quite difficult. And I think that exercise from a few years ago was extremely useful for now, when I'm in film music and for thisopportunity that Mrs. Comandașu offered me, when she asked me to write the jingles. I admit that the main theme came when I was walking my son outside, around the block, I recorded audio and then I worked on it. It was a ping pong process of ideas, I had to confirm with Mrs. Cristina Comandașu to see if it was the direction she wanted. First I made a model for the piano, I showed it in the direction I was going and she liked it and I went on. That was the process.
Cristina Comandașu, who is the editor-in-chief of our station, was also the one who supported you at the ICMA Awards, where you were declared "Composer of the Year", because she is a member of the jury of this competition.
Iwould like to conclude and ask you, if you have inspiration, to send a short message to our listeners on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the existence of our station, Radio Romania Musical.
I think that's all I can say: In recent weeks, when so much has happened, including the joy of being honored to be chosen by the ICMA jury, I've come to realize how important communication is between us artists, composers, conductors, performers and the public. And one of the ways is, of course, Radio România Muzical! Iremember, in high school, how refractory I was to the new music I now write with pleasure, because I didn't understand it, I didn't have the necessary resources and I had no idea that music has other functions besides the aesthetic one, that music can be good or bad, not just beautiful or ugly. And I think that Radio România Muzical, through the shows it has, through the interviews it offers - there is quite a diversity in what it offers - I think that accessing these shows from time to time, certain doors open for you, you expand this music reception palette and you can taste more. It's like when you're refractory to a certain type of food and just by tasting it little by little, you even end up liking it.
Translated by Elena Crețu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu