How did you start composing?

Esther Rzewski – Young Composer 
So I started “composing” quite early… mainly because my father being a composer himself,

EstherI started to mimick him as a young child. Although I cannot remember any of my childhood composition, there are still proof lying around: sheets of paper with massive crochets and quavers drawn on squibbly hand drawn staves. 

Having never received any music lesson before I started the violin a few years later I couldn’t read notes until then. So I devised a system of numbered pieces of paper, tape-stuck on dad’s keyboard (he’s also a pianist) middle C was “1” D was “2” etc… I started writing with that notation, and dad dutifully played all of that.

I can only admire his patience as the paper rattled, and stayed there for a good while, until I abandoned my composing career for the joys of other childhood games… About 2 years ago I picked up the viola rather enthusiastically and injured my left hand as a result. I was very frustrated that I couldn’t do music, (I had to stop playing after a few bars’ practising in some cases because it got so painful) until I decided to compose instead, so I could still have that musical output.

That was perhaps April of this year… and even though my hand got much better I haven’t stop composing since.


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