Matthew Kaner is Radio 3's new Composer in 3
Meet the young composer appointed to help kick off our 70th anniversary celebrations.
Imagine writing a completely new piece of music from scratch. Now imagine writing a completely new piece of music from scratch, every week for ten weeks. That’s the challenge facing Matthew Kaner, our new Composer in 3.
Matthew is the winner of BBC Radio 3’s Embedded: Composer in 3, an initiative we devised in partnership with the national new music charity Sound and Music. His appointment is part of 70 at 70, a series of musical and cultural commissions to mark 70 years of BBC Radio 3.
Starting in September, he’ll spend 70 days working with Radio 3 programme-makers to create a new piece of music for broadcast each week.
So how will he deal with the pressure of coming up with the goods each and every week?
It’s not exactly untrodden ground for Matthew, who already has several impressive composing credits to his name, including works written for the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Sinfonietta.
There are lots of misconceptions about what modern composers do, and what being a composer is actually like. I want people to see that I’m a composer, but I’m also a real person.
“It’s going to be pretty full-on, but it’s not the first time I’ve had to work this intensively,” he says. “Once, I wrote three pieces in three days. It was pretty stressful, but I survived it somehow. I’ve learned that having a deadline like this can force you to be very creative!”
Part of Matthew’s job as Composer in 3 will be making the business of contemporary classical music a bit more accessible to listeners who feel they don’t know much about it. “Although that’s a challenge, it’s one that I’m really excited to take on,’ he says. “There’s a great opportunity here for new music to become a bit more... well, normal.
“There are lots of misconceptions about what modern composers do, and what being a composer is actually like. I want people to see that I’m a composer, but I’m also a real person.”
So what does this particular real person like to do when he’s not writing music at breakneck speed, getting lost in the soundworlds of French composer Henri Dutilleux, or bobbing his head along in time to tracks by his musical hero, Herbie Hancock?
“This sounds ridiculous, but I really enjoy DIY,” he admits. “My dad’s a furniture restorer, so I learned the basic skills growing up. Anything that needs doing, I’m there. I just really enjoy putting things together.”
Better keep quiet about that while you’re in the Radio 3 studios, Matthew – or you might find yourself with a lot of extra "commissions" on your hands...
Meanwhile, taking up the new position of First on 3 is the jazz trumpeter Laura Jurd. Laura (pictured), is the first of seven young composers to receive their first BBC commissions this year as part of Radio 3’s anniversary celebrations.
Lastly, the Celebrating 3 initiative will see three established composers commissioned to write significant new works. The first to be announced is Tansy Davies, who will be writing a new work for the BBC Philharmonic.