You are perhaps best known for choral and theatrical works. Have purely orchestral works always been as important to you, and has the focus on your vocal work been our choice or yours?
The orchestra has always been important to me, ever since I played viola in a youth orchestra, but I haven’t often had the opportunity to write orchestral music without voices: some of my earliest experiences were writing community operas with amateur orchestras.
My opera Flightwas the first time I was able to write an extended score for a professional symphony orchestra, and I think you can hear how excited I was. Apart from two concertos, Gaia Theoryis the longest piece I’ve written for orchestra alone. An orchestra is luxury: it’s still always a privilege to write for one, and a treat.
The works on this disc span 20 years yet seem to have great musical consistency. Does that statement ring true, and have you ever held to any “musical philosophy” with respect to your basic compositional language?
There was definitely a moment when I ‘found my voice’ – I discovered that I was happiest writing melodies you can...