Interview with Tiffany Woods (2003)

In May 2003, Tiffany Woods emailed David a series of questions in the course of writing a paper. She was a student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and taking a Band Literature course with Dr. John Locke. David wrote a thorough response. The interview has been excerpted from their correspondence and interleaved here. It has been lightly edited for spelling and style.

Tiffany Woods: I’ve read your interview with saxophonist Russell Peterson and first I want to talk a little about your compositional process and you referred to what you termed “active imagining.” While to some degree this makes sense in terms of a ‘programmatic’ piece, such as A Child’s Garden of Dreams and maybe even the Mass, when you sit down to “compose a symphony” does the same concept still apply?

David Maslanka: “Active Imagining” is a term used by the psychologist Carl Jung. It is a way of moving the conscious mind into the space of the unconscious. They closest thing to it that most people do is daydreaming. The difference is in being aware that it is happening, and in finding ways to deepen the experience. The result is that it is possible to approach the unconscious directly and to ask for the direction or energy that wants to become music. The process applies equally to all kinds of music. It isn’t about whether the music has a story, but about opening the channel […]

8 Questions for David Maslanka

The following is from an email exchange with Natasha Rotondaro, a grade 12 student from Emily Carr Secondary School in Vaughn, Ontario

Natasha Rotondaro: What is your musical background?

David Maslanka: I began clarinet studies at age nine. As a high school student I took lessons at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA, and played in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. I have a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where I also began my studies in composition. My Masters and Doctorate are from Michigan State University in music theory and composition. I taught for twenty years in universities in New York State and New York City, and for the past 25-plus years I have been a freelance composer, living in Missoula, MT.

NR: What do you find to be the greatest challenge of your occupation?

DM: There are many high challenges in the composing life. Probably the greatest is having to start the composition of each new piece without any clear idea of what it is. I know , of course, that a piece might be for band, or for flute and piano, but there is no way to know why a piece has to be what it is until it begins to speak its own voice. So the challenge is the ability to listen for this unknown voice, and the patience to work until that voice is exactly right.

NR: What are the common character traits of those successful in your field?

DM: I would say […]

By |2016-12-09T23:08:45+00:002 January 2016|Composing, Interview, Mass|