Dr. Amy Rooney unveils her new commissioned piece for Music Network's March Tour

Dr. Amy Rooney unveils her new commissioned piece for Music Network's March Tour
We caught up with Dr. Amy Rooney to chat about her musical preferences, the inspiration behind her Music Network commission "Cascade", and her composition process.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your music?

My name is Amy Rooney and I’m a composer from Co. Down. My preference is for music which involves some degree of co-creativity, where various decisions assigned to the player produce music that is nuanced, natural and flexible. In the words of Berio, when discussing his Sequenza I, my pieces invite the player to “wear the music as a dress, not as a straitjacket.”

Tell us about your new commission for Music Network

The title of the piece, Cascade, refers to the process whereby something is successfully passed on. In this instance, it is the passing of musical ideas, where lines ebb and flow around each other. The central focus of these exchanges is the interval of a minor 2nd, with ideas emerging and developing from this to various degrees over the course of the piece. These unfold as a response to what is happening in other musical lines, with the three instruments very much intertwined and interacting.

What is the process of musical composition like for you?

I usually begin with quite a specific idea and then tinker endlessly at the piano until this germinates into something bigger. I always find the process very slow when beginning a new piece; lots of ideas and fragments are discarded until I eventually come up with something that I’m happy with. From this point, the composition often flows quite easily. I usually have a loose plan as to where I want the piece to go, but am willing to change direction if and when the music calls for it. I’m much happier to let the piece lead me as it unfolds.

Do you have a favourite composer and what is it about their music that you are drawn to?

I have always been drawn to the music of Stravinsky. The immediacy of the rhythms in works such as Petrushka and The Rite of Spring proved influential on my early development as a composer. More recently, I find myself liking individual pieces rather than full catalogues from particular composers.

What is your favourite thing about making music, and how does it make you feel?

I love the idea of creating something brand new; I have always felt compelled to write music, and there is a real sense of achievement upon hearing your new creation performed. The process is difficult at times but I relish the challenge of making music.

Where can we hear your music?