One-on-One With Pulitzer-Prize Winning Composer Paul Moravec

Paul Moravec photoAfter winning a Pulitzer Prize, many of us would probably be content to rest on our laurels. But artists and composers are strung differently. Since he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2004, composer Paul Moravec has continued to create, to inspire and to collaborate, including a host of new commissions and premieres, including the new forthcoming CD with ALIAS and Portara Choral ensemble.

The CD release is scheduled for January, 2015, on the Delos label, and these works will be performed by ALIAS with the Nashville Ballet at the “Amorisms” world premiere on May 7, 2014. On February 18, ALIAS will also perform Moravec’s “Tempest Fantasy”, which earned him the 2004 Pulitzer.

This is just a sampling of the upcoming commissions for this world-renowned composer. Mr. Moravec recently took a rare timeout from his demanding schedule to chat with ALIAS Exposed about Pulitzer Prizes and new artistic collaborations.

How did winning the Pulitzer impact your artistic and creative path? Did it open new doors?

Winning the Pulitzer Prize certainly opened up a number of doors for me, especially for bigger projects, such as opera, oratorio and orchestral commissions. Since winning the Prize in 2004, I have composed 54 compositions, so I guess it has also spurred me to compose a lot generally.

What was your inspiration for “Tempest Fantasy”?

I have long been fascinated with Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” It’s my personal favorite of his plays.

How did you begin your collaboration with ALIAS and Portara Choral Ensemble?

My association with ALIAS goes back to the fall of 2004, when they performed my “Tempest Fantasy.” “Amorisms,” my new commissioned work, represents my first collaboration with Portara.

Your “Amorisms” commission with Portara and ALIAS will be performed with the Nashville Ballet. What are the unique challenges involved in writing music for dance?

In writing for ballet, the composer must always keep front and center in his mind the reality of physical movement among the dancers. Ballet is, of course, inherently a visceral, vital, thrilling medium, which grounds the composer’s flights of fancy in the practical exigencies of dance. Ballet is a tremendously powerful and compelling medium, but the composer must always remember what works best for the dancers when making the musical choices and decisions.

You also have a new commission with the Minnesota Opera, based on “The Shining”. Can you tell us more about this project?

This is my fourth opera. I’m tremendously excited about it. I’ll have more to say about it when I am further along in the composition of the work.

(See Moravec’s comments about this new work on the Minnesota Opera’s website.)

Just one last question: When do you have time to sleep?

At night! I’ve managed to maintain what I think is a pretty viable balance between work and repose.