Thomas Ades

Full of Noises: Conversations with Tom Service

By Thomas Ades, Composer; Tom Service
(Farrar Straus Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374276324, 188pp.)

Publication Date: October 16, 2012

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Composer, conductor, and pianist, Thomas Ades is one of the most diversely talented musical figures of his generation. His music is performed by great opera companies, symphony orchestras, chamber groups, and music festivals throughout the world. But Ades has resisted public discussion of the creative process behind his musical compositions. Until now, the interior experience that has fired the spectrum of his work--from his first opera, "Powder Her Face," to his masterpiece "The Tempest "and his acclaimed orchestral works "Asyla "and "Tevot"--has largely remained unexplained. Here, in spirited, intimate, and, at times, contentious conversations with the distinguished music critic Tom Service, Ades opens up about his work. "For Ades, whose literary and artistic sensibilities are nearly as refined and virtuosic as his musical instincts," writes Service, "inhabiting the different territory of words rather than notes offers a chance to search out new creative correspondences, to open doors--a phrase he often uses--into new ways of thinking in and about music."

The phrase "full of noises," from Caliban's speech in "The Tempest," refers both to the sounds "swirling around" Ades's head that are transmuted into music and to the vast array of his musical influences--from Sephardic folk music, to 1980s electronica, to Ades's passion for Beethoven and Janacek and his equally visceral "dislike "of Wagner. It also suggests "the creative friction" essential to any authentic dialogue. As readers of these "wilfully brilliant" conversations will quickly discover, "Thomas Ades: Full of Noises "brings us into the "revelatory kaleidoscope" of Ades's world.

About the Author
Born in 1971, Thomas Ades is the foremost composer of his generation. His first opera", Powder Her Face", has been produced all over the world; his 1997 orchestral piece, "Asyla", won the Grawemeyer Award; and his 2004 opera, "The Tempest", which Alex Ross called "a masterpiece of airy beauty and eerie power," was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in 2012. Ades was Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival, has conducted orchestras from the New York Philharmonic to the London Symphony, and has had festivals worldwide devoted to his music.

Tom Service writes about music for the "Guardian", where he was Chief Classical Music Critic, and broadcasts for BBC Radio 3. He was the inaugural recipient of the ICMP/CIEM Classical Music Critic of the Year Award, and was Guest Artistic Director of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
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