Julian: “The music can be a bit quirky for us.”

The Hague based Brazilian composer Julian Maple-Oliveira was composer-in-residence at Festival Dag in de Branding in 2021/2022. March 16 he will perform in Korzo with the Spaceship Ensemble. In this interview he talks about the Spaceship Ensemble that he founded and of which he is artistic director. Julian: “The music can be a bit quirky for us.”

The Spaceship Ensemble has a rather unusual line-up. How come?
“I was asked to create a piece for the opening of the 2018-2019 school year at the Royal Conservatoire. Because the performance was at the conservatory, where everything is available, I decided to choose a crazy instrumentation: harp, accordion, guitar/mandolin, percussion, harpsichord, piano and samplers. It went very well and all players immediately had the idea of forming a permanent ensemble. Due to corona, things got off the ground a bit slowly, we played occasionally, but we are now a foundation – important to get funding – and in 2022 we had our first major concert at the Gaudeamus festival.”

How would you describe Spaceship?
“We focus on ensemble music, but for us it can be a bit quirky, a bit crazy and idiosyncratic. We started as a kind of band, we have the same humor and many of us are best friends, even outside the ensemble. For example, some of us play tennis together, like me and our conductor, Hardy. I beat him at tennis, but he crushes me at table tennis.”

Is the music you play also funny?
“What we do is at least not dark and depressive. The element of entertainment is important to us – but with artistic weight. We will not seek to collaborate with David Guetta any time soon, for example.”

Is it true that you also play self-made instruments?
“Yes, I like building instruments, just like my roommate Siavash Jafari. Occasionally we help each other, but most of the time we work separately. Besides being a musician, Siavash is also an engineer and for him building instruments is his life. For me it is a hobby, although I now also teach robotics. They are electronic instruments, with a keyboard as an interface. Playability is paramount.”

Curious about the Spaceship Ensemble concert? Come to KORZO on March 16 at 7:15 PM. You can buy tickets here.

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