During a dinner break from an intense production meeting for a new piece, composer Michael Beil (1963- ) took the time to sit down with me and chat about his personal compositional history and then answer some of my questions about his thoughts and experiences with conductors. Michael and I first met in 2013 on a production for Nadar ensemble at the Acht Brücken Festival in Cologne, Germany. I was new with the ensemble and we were at the festival to, amongst other premieres, tackle Beil’s newest piece, Exit to Enter (2013). The work is for six musicians, conductor, tape, lights, and live-processed video. I played the lights while my colleagues performed the musical and dramatic part of the piece. In Exit to Enter, the musicians are recorded live performing small actions that are then played back as life-sized avatars throughout the piece. Our conversation over dinner in Antwerp began by talking first about this piece. That soon led to a brief look at what might be coming next. In all, we discussed his personal history, compositional techniques, and perspective on the course of contemporary musical history. We also went deep into his views on the conductor’s responsibilities and their role in contemporary music.
This interview took place on the 19th of October, 2019 in De Singel in Antwerp, Belgium