As we approach our February 2nd "Box Not Found: Stories" performance at the East Boston Public Library, we are extremely thrilled to have the chance to work with composer Camila Agosto. We will be premiering her new work, Paper House, written for us for bass clarinet and violin. Natalie had the opportunity to work with Camila during the 2016 Cortona Sessions For New Music, in Italy, premiering her work, Blemish, for string quartet. It was such a fantastic experience, and we knew that we wanted to continue our work with her for our Box Not Found: Stories program. We hope you enjoy our conversation with Camila, and we hope to see you on February 2nd!
1. Do you tell stories through music?
Yes, much of my work is based on personal experience and I find that fragments of my experiences become embedded within my music.
2. How would you compare storytelling to composition?
I feel that storytelling and composition are very similar and rely on an aural tradition of sharing work. A composer, much like a storyteller, incorporates drama, conflict, structure, and a narrative (be it thematic, fictional, or something more abstract) to connect and propel the work. Often the experience of listening to a story, much like listening to music, evokes a visceral experience and triggers the imagination of the listener to fill in the blanks. It is this collective experience of sharing a musical story that I find most compelling.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about the story you chose for your piece?
Within Paper House, I explore my experiences with a close family member working through PTSD, and the challenges it created in our relationship and my relationships with others. Often, when experiencing intense external pressures and erratically shifting relationships, I would create a world to escape within and re-center my mind. This world was my own, untouchable and indestructible by others. This piece provides a glimpse into the worlds that I think many of us create to escape the chaos. It is about the resiliency of our imagination and minds and that despite the changing landscape of our lives, the paper worlds we create still stand.
4. Why is this story important to you?
I have found writing this piece to be a very cathartic process. While it is a very hard story for me to tell because it is not a story from my past but from my present, on-going life, I feel that the morals I’ve learned from my experiences have shaped me into the person I have become and carried me through some very challenging times.
5. Could you give us 3 of your favorite story books?
I love to read and have so many favorite stories! When I was younger I loved: the Harry Potter Series, Nancy Drew, A to Z Mystery Series, and Jane Austen. Now, I find that my tastes are still very similar but with a slightly new cast of characters: Jules Verne, Jane Austen (still my boo), Agatha Christie, to name a few. I can’t really narrow it down to specific titles because I find so much to like from much of these authors’ works.