Kaja Bjorntvedt

rarescale's Artistic Director, Carla Rees, talks to Kaja Bjorntvedt ahead of their premiere of Skye Light on 19th October
What is it that appeals to you about writing for the alto/ bass flute?

I love the richness and quality of its tone! Particularly when using recordings of the alto and bass flute in electro-acoustic music, there are so many possibilities within its soundworld to twist and turn and to explore new tone qualities.

What attracts you to rarescale as an ensemble?

rarescale does an amazing and important job in supporting contemporary composers by performing and commissioning new work. To have so many talented and professional players willing to risk and to be open to new things is extremely valuable for us composers.

Tell us about the background of your piece - how did it come to be written and what's it all about?

I attended a composer’s residency with rarescale in 2009 at the beautiful Island of Skye in Scotland. Being ‘stuck’ there without wifi or phone signal and surrounded by beautiful nature and talented musicians, made you really focus and tune into the surrounding nature combined with all these flute sounds you heard every day. It was like my piece wrote itself.

How does this work relate to your other compositional output?

I am very interested in exploring sound itself, but not moving completely away from traditional composition techniques such as melody, harmony and rhythms. A lot of my music is electro-acoustic but based on recordings of acoustic instruments. In combination of non-musical sounds, they make a very interesting starting point for me in creating an electro-acoustic soundscore. However, my starting point is often a more traditional composition like ‘Skye Light’ where I explore different themes and harmonies before translating it into an electro-acoustic soundworld.

What have been your career highlights so far?

Attending a concert in Hong Kong and suddenly seeing that some of my pieces from the Trinity Guildhall syllabus were included in the programme, and the mutual joy of speaking to the performers after the concert!

Kaja's website

Kaja on Soundcloud