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Q&A | 18 Questions For Samy Moussa

By Michael Vincent on January 31, 2017

Samy Moussa (Photo: Manu Theobald)
Samy Moussa (Photo: Manu Theobald)

Every so often MT poses 60 questions to a local or visiting artist in Toronto who has made our classical music community that much more interesting. They pick and choose. The minimum response is 20 answers. A kind of Rorschach personality test, if you will.

Born in Montreal in 1984, Samy Moussa was assistant conductor with the hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt and with the Ensemble Modern. He was awarded the Bayerischen Kunstförderpreis 2012 for his work as conductor with the INDEX Ensemble and won the Composers’ Prize 2013 from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. Pierre Boulez commissioned him “Crimson”, an orchestral work for the Lucerne Festival premiered in 2015. He was named Québec’s “Composer of the year” in 2015. Samy Moussa lives in Paris and Berlin. His music is published by Durand (Universal Music Publishing Classical).

You can hear the premiere of Moussa’s A Globe Itself Infolding for Organ and Orchestra performed by Toronto Symphony on Feb. 1 and 2.

What are three things about Toronto that make you want to live here?

It’s people

The Art Gallery of Ontario

Its relative proximity to my place of birth, Montréal

Default drink/cocktail of choice?

Water

Name your favourite concert hall/venue in Toronto

Koerner Hall

Your favourite sound?

A good orchestra

Your favourite smells?

Vetyver, wood, anise

The historical personalities, both good and bad, that fascinate you the most?

Anton Bruckner, William Blake, Arnold Schoenberg, Elisabeth I, Emmanuel Levinas

Where was the last place you traveled to for work or pleasure?

Hamburg 

The three books that you read that made an impact on you in your formative years?

The Bible

Aeschylus: The Oresteia

George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four

The different career path that you could have gone on?

Architecture

The character flaw in others that you can’t abide?

Disloyalty

What is the worst thing about your work?

It is a slow process

Name three pieces or composers that you never want to hear again.

Frederick Delius, Hans Pfitzner, Helmut Lachenmann’s epigones

What musical instrument do you secretly long to play?

The bassoon

What was the luckiest moment in your life?

Whenever I finish a new composition

The thing that makes you the happiest?

A great performance

What are you listening to as you answer these questions?

Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto

The first three things that you do every morning?

Drink water, read the news, breakfast

To read more from our Q&A Series, click HERE.

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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. A specialist in digital media for over 15 years, he has worked as a senior editor and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
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