Meet the Composer: Alexander Verster

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Hear Alexander’s composition in The Clements Prize final at Conway Hall on 17 October 2021!

Find out more / book tickets here.

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you become a composer?

My background is in Jazz; bands, big and small. In these I played drums and electric bass. One day, upon committing an improvisation to paper I discovered I had become a composer. Naturally this led me to become a classical musician, so I left my home in NZ at once to study in London and have been a freelance double bassist here ever since, playing mostly ballet and baroque.

We are all looking forward to hearing the piece you have written for The Clements Prize 2021.  Could you say a little about it please?  We’d love to hear about the inspiration behind the music, what you think of the string trio form…

The Tunemonger is a product of lockdown. However, far from being a grim reflection of the circumstance in which it arose, it is a joyful reminiscence of… something joyful. I’ll leave it to the listener to fill in the blanks. The Tunemonger is a work of fiction, inspired by this very programme note, although I may have the chronology confused – another consequence of lockdown.

In writing for trio I found myself writing many awkward double stops in an attempt to flesh out the harmony before committing to the somewhat sparse texture of the instrumentation and realising what an advantage it may actually represent, i.e. again letting the listener fill in the blanks! However, some of the double stops have remained, with my apologies to the players.

What are your plans for the future?  What are you going to write next?  Do you have any performances coming up?

In the short term, I will be playing Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet, which as a composer/human being is certainly one of the absolute greatest scores to play/hear/feel. After that I am doing a solo recital (double bass and piano) where I will perform a few of my own pieces, which is of course the easiest way to have one’s work performed.

In the long term… I am really only guessing, but writing more music seems like a good idea. If my freelance career offers the opportunity to compose alongside it then I intend to continue doing so indefinitely!

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