what inspires me?

Madeleine isaksson (Sweden), Composer

Madeleine Isaksson. Photo: Jean-Louis Garnell

Madeleine Isaksson. Photo: Jean-Louis Garnell

Each new piece should be unique, having its own identity, so I always try to begin from nothing. Of course, my musical language is identifiable from one piece to another – similar musical ‘molecules’ can reappear – but I never intentionally use old musical material. I start a piece by exploring the sounding possibilities/limits of the instruments by, among other things, drawing a map in which each instrument (or instrument family) has its own colour.

The next step is to make another drawing, of the approximate total duration of the new piece and its division into parts or sections. Emerging musical ideas might be sketched in, opening up the specific soundworld of the new piece, and to get closer and closer to its details. At the same time musical fragments are notated and analysed. Another step is to create material schemata, exploring relationship of different pulses, scales and intervals. After that the real act of composition begins.

My music is never intended to describe, imitate or portray anything whatsoever. It relates instead to my imagination, associated with gravitation, textures and forms, so I consider my music to be both physical and abstract. Using my imagination in this way derives from a vital relationship I have with visual art and poetry.