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Christian Mason in Conversation

Christian Mason

We're getting to know the people behind the music. Ahead of CONNECT: The Audience as Artist in October 2016, we asked composer Christian Mason about his highs, his lows and his best musical joke.

What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?

Well, the piece which so far gets closest to my artistic ideal of an expansive sustained luminosity is probably The Years of Light. Also, the discovery of the handkerchief-harmonica (simply a harmonica wrapped in a handkerchief) which makes one of my favourite sounds and features in that piece. But there are other pieces with other concerns that I feel equally, or more, connected to depending on the time of day/week/month/year…

What do you fear?
Time, especially the lack of it.

Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you?
Giacinto Scelsi’s Anahit or Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Hoch-Zeiten

What’s the most unusual performance you’ve been a part of?
Dawn improvisation in a field by the river Ouse (York), attended only by the local sheep.

What’s currently on your coffee table at home?
A book about Kingfishers and Piranesi’s Le Vedute di Roma.

What was the first recording you ever bought?
I think it was The Beatles 1967-70 Blue Album compilation (on cassette!).

Describe yourself in three words. 
Melancholy yet joyful.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
Unemployed (in a society with a universal basic income).

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
Probably my sister, Barbara Keal, and my first composition teacher Sinan Savaskan.

Tell us your best musical joke.You’d be better off watching Monty Python’s ‘Johann Gambolputty' sketch:

Published: 30 Sep 2016