I wrote Levitas during my final year of the Bachelor of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music as a piece for my portfolio. The inspiration for the main theme came to me as I was looking at a bird fly over a building next to a tree on Swanston Street. People often ask me, ‘how do you come up with your ideas?’ and I always find that a difficult question to answer. Typically I’ll be on a train or a bus, doing something really mundane and then suddenly, in my head, there will just be music. Sometimes I feel like there’s a whole ‘music dimension,’ where all the music that ever has or will be written exists and all I have to do is remember how mine goes and write it.
But unfortunately completing a piece is never that easy. Writing Levitas had its challenges. At the time I was struggling with a lot of self-doubt and questions about my identity as an artist and honestly, that can be crippling! As a piece, it’s really a culmination of sounds I like and where I’ve come from as a musician, and it took me a while to be able to accept my music as what it is and not judge it as overly simplistic or clichéd by imposing creative expectations which I didn’t necessarily believe in.
Last year’s ANAM Composer Perforum workshops came at just the right time. Suddenly my music was out of the computer and in people’s hands and I was working with people, with musicians, and that was such a gift. The students were so generous in their feedback and willingness to teach me about their instruments, and I think that’s when it really hit me why it is that I write music. Yes, creating something new and unique is great, but for me it’s the creation of something which can bring people together, which can encourage discussion and the sharing of knowledge and skills, and which has the power to connect with and move people. Being able to work with ANAM has been an absolute thrill. Having the opportunity to hear the sounds I know so well on the inside come at me from the outside is a great feeling, and working with top notch musicians has been incredibly valuable in terms of developing my ability to write for their instruments and better myself as a composer.
I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with ANAM and so grateful to the school for continuing to give Levitas a life.