It is an honor to welcome acclaimed composer Ingrid Stölzel to Listen Local. Stölzel's work has been performed internationally and has won many prestigious music competitions. She is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Kansas School of Music and recently completed a residency with the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, where her orchestra piece Genius Loci - Spirit of Place was performed alongside works by Schumann, Saint-Saëns and Dvořák. Enjoy our interview with Stölzel and listen to samples of her work.
Please introduce yourself. Where do you live and work? What does a typical day look like for you?
I am a composer and live in Kansas City. I’m originally from Germany, but now have lived in the United States more than half of my life. I teach composition at the University of Kansas School of Music. My typical day includes teaching, writing, eating, meditating, reading, walking…
Delve a little into your own process of composing. What may surprise a listener of your music about how you create it? What tools do you use?
I always have the title of a composition before I start composing. This is definitely an important part of my process and allows me to focus on what it is I am trying to express in the music. As far as tools, I use the three “Ps” – Paper, Pencil and Piano!
Your music has been recognized both domestically and around the globe with many awards and commissions. How do you balance the intensely personal act of composition with the international scope of your listening audience?
My goal as a composer is simply to connect - connect to the listener, connect to the performer, connect to myself. Connection and a sense of connectedness is one of our strongest human desires. In order for connection to happen in life and in music, we need to allow ourselves to be seen and heard authentically, removing all of those layers we wrap around our literal and figurative self. I always keep this in mind as I compose. I strive to write music that has the potential to make an emotional connection with the audience.
What inspired you to become a composer?
One of my absolute favorite things that music can do is to give us goose bumps. This is also called musical-induced frisson. I am especially prone to this, perhaps because I grew up in a musical family and we listened to a lot of music. I can imagine certain passages of music in my mind and instantaneously give myself goose bumps. I remember as a child just loving this feeling. Who wouldn’t want to be in a profession that can do that!
What advice do you have for younger composers?
Who or what inspires you now?
Nature, words, silence, friends, students, travel, art…