B-Change caught up with Jason Kouchak, composer of last year’s and 2016’s Emirates Lit Fest theme music, prior to the festival.
Here’s a glimpse of our chat with the acclaimed musician about his musical process and literary inspirations:
1. What was the inspiration behind the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016 theme music?
JK: ‘Sands of Time’ was the theme inspired by the stillness, the silence and the spirit of the desert. Memories from the past and the wind whispering our secrets. A reflection of the passage of time and the moment when we hear our own breathing and heartbeat in the silence.
A beautiful space between musical notes and the mystery and rhythm of nature which become our own eternal music.
2. Which books have most influenced your songwriting?
JK: I was inspired by reading numerous classics including science fiction
H.G. Wells (Time Machine), Isaac Asimov (The End of Eternity) and particularly the poetry of John Keats and T.S. Eliot.
3. Tell us about ‘Scheherazade’ [the 2015 Festival theme] and what went into that composition emotionally?
JK: ‘Scheherazade’ is an inspirational piece to play on the piano. I found it entrancing and mysterious to play and realised the importance of playing from heart without music in order to connect the audience to the composer directly.
The powerful imagery and Middle Eastern motifs are blended beautifully with a colourful rhythmic quality. The love theme especially is so emotionally expressive that it gave me a chance to release musically and play and share personal experiences.
4. What are looking forward to at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016?
JK: I look forward to the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature 2016 especially to listen to the stories and experiences of new writers and their wonderful ability to connect and communicate their thoughts to the audience.
This wonderful Festival is a place to share thoughts, ideas, values and maybe most importantly of all to embrace our individual identities to bring peace and harmony together.
Jason Kouchak is a widely acclaimed French pianist noted for his Chanson Française and classical music repertoire. He has recorded five albums at Abbey Road Studios and has appeared on BBC TV, TV 5 and the Japanese Broadcasting company (NHK) performing his own musical compositions.
He has toured globally as a classical pianist, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, making guest appearances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Julian Lloyd-Webber.
Jason is happily based in London and Paris performing popular music, jazz and his first love – classical music. Visit http://www.jasonkouchak.com for more about him.