I like to get together with players face to face and improvise sounds. For example, even though I’ve written two string quartets, I know that when I write my third I’ll schedule a session with players so that I can hear and feel the string sounds afresh. Fine players often show me qualities of the instrument and playing techniques that I couldn’t come up with on my own, because they work with the instruments and live with them, day in, day out.
After that, when I take pencil and paper, the physical sounds will still be ringing through me. I’ll sketch maybe 100 pages or so, depending on the piece. I try not to censor anything I write. I look at what I’ve put down on paper and let myself feel how the sounds flow – their energy and their direction. When I feel the sounds in this way I want to work on them to make them more beautiful, or clearer or stronger or more dynamic or dramatic – in other words, I want them to flow as much as possible. It’s incredibly fun to do this.

– Lois V Vierk

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