Artist of the Week
Artist: Carmel Smickersgill
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a composer - I try to split my time between Classical and Jazz. I love working collaboratively with artists in other art forms.
Where do you study?
I am currently in my fourth year studying composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with Gary Carpenter.
Why do you compose?
For the same reason that I enjoy cooking. I like making things to share.
What and who are you influenced by?
Mostly the people around me and trying to avoid boredom.
What excites you about the artistic world today?
The variation of art forms in it and the increasingly blurred lines between all of them. More collaborations! More ideas!
Why do you like contemporary art and think that it is important?
I like it because it's relevant to me today - rather than a historical artefact. It's important because it makes people think! How boring would we be if no one thought.
What do you think is more important, talent or hard work?
I think the two things feed into each other but neither are worth anything on their own.
What is your favourite instrument to compose for and why?
Definitely voice! It's the most human sound possible, accessible for everyone and there is so much possibility!
Have you ever failed at something and what happened as a result? What advice would you give to people as a result of that experience?
I fail all the time with pieces not working out, losing competitions, commissions, residencies. I don't know any composer around me (even the most successful ones) who haven't failed more than they've succeeded. You learn more from failing and it makes you a more grounded person. It's good to fail. It's bad to dwell on that failure. It's especially bad to take every individual failure personally, get over it and get on with it.
Please tell us about your piece 'Thinking Space'.
This is a string quartet written for the RNCM Chamber Music Festival 2017. It was performed by William Chadwick, Heather Macleod, Elizabeth Lister and Awen Blandford. I was so grateful to the players for putting as much work into it as they did. They weren't a formed quartet and so putting the piece together was quite a challenge.
To listen to 'Thinking Space', follow this link: https://soundcloud.com/smickersgirl/thinking-space
To hear more of Carmel's work, check out her soundcloud page: https://soundcloud.com/smickersgirl