Interview with Wolfgang Suppan

Austrian composer Wolfgang Suppan since 1989 lives and works in Vienna. He creates a variety of instrumentation which are characterized by the sound experience of working on electronic and computer-based music. But recently he is changing the course of his actions and in his current work composer condenses this approach by writing primarily for classic, traditional occupations. His works are performed at festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, Wien Modern, Musikprotokoll Graz, etc. Musicologist Ona Jarmalavičiūtė inquiring the unique composer about the intricacies of his creative process – its structure and meaning.

What are your thoughts about the structuring of the creative process, presented above?

Having a plan is a good starting point, but when you get deeper and deeper you have to follow the “flow” – or intuition – you have to leave the intended path.

What are your thoughts about this quote: “Works of art have been compared to icebergs: what is visible is but a small part of the whole. An artwork might seem to exist in splendid isolation, but that impression is misleading. Cultural products inevitably arise from a context, a submerged landscape that is often not easily accessible”?

I agree – artworks are mirrors of complex cultural aspects, transformed into object with intuitive – not rational – interfaces. accessible with our senses (via ear, nose, eye or sense of touch). The “Material” at the peek and the “Idea” at the bottom.

Do you have certain patterns, structures when it comes to your creative process?

I always start with instrumentation (which instruments), then I use the computer (the software Openmusic) to work on sketches and programming tools for the compositorial process.

What is the most fun and the most boring part in the compositional process?

Most fun: looking at the final score. The most boring part: enter the notes into Finale (Notation software) .

Define inspiration – does it exist?

Yes, certainly. Its the gift you received after a lot of transpiration.

How do you usually create a new idea of a piece?

Its comes to me very quickly or after years. Its differs

How does the process of forming an idea looks like?

Trial and error – a kind of filtering process.

How do you transform the abstract idea into material – sketch, notes?

I use Openmusic to test the range of variation (or better surprises) are possible with the initial idea.

What is your purpose of music sketching?

To practice the final writing process. A kind of training.

What do you do to get into your creative zone?

Trying to empty my head from all disturbing thoughts.

When do you decide that the preparation (precomposition) period is over and now you will start to actually compose?

When a have a deadline its near the last moment… Without a deadline its very hard to decide when its time to start with the actual composing work.

How do you know when a piece or project is finished and needs no additional work?

Sometimes I have the feeling its done, but sometimes I have the feeling I am in the middle of the process and some aspects should be revised…

Do you critique your own work? Explain.

Yes I do, but Im trying/learning to leave this mostly unproductive area.

Do you identify with your creative product? Explain.

After finishing a project I have a very distant relation the the result, but with older projects – with some distance, its getting closer and closer.

Thank you for the conversation!

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