“Ascending & Descending” is the new album by pianist and composer Lennart Altgenug. Inspired by film music, impressionism and minimalism, the pieces of this album are a musical reflection of different moods and feelings that arise from uprooting from one place to another.
We met the artist for an exclusive interview that you can find below.
Welcome Lennart and thank you for this interview.
When did you start composing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
My first attempts at composing were around the same time I started studying jazz when I was around 19 years old. Before that, I was mostly playing classical music and I barely had any knowledge of harmony.
What do you personally consider to be incisive moments in your work and/or career?
I hope that this moment could be a decisive moment in my career, because this is the first time that my music is released with a label and gaining a wider audience. Also, I feel like I am slowly finding my own style and I am able to express myself better with my compositions
Can you tell us something about your last release “Ascending & Descending”?
Over the past 5 years, there were a lot of changes in my life: I lived and worked in India for a while and then moved back to Germany and built a new life for myself. In this album, I was trying to musically process those changes and experiences that came along with them.
Musically, I think a composer should still aspire to create something new and original. In terms of social and potlitical roles, I think the more recognition you get, the more important it becomes that you make your voice heard on certain issues.
How long did it take to prepare the album?
Some pieces are already quite old but I never had the chance to record them. Most of the composing happened during the lockdown in the first part of 2020. The recording happened in September. So I would say it took me roughly one year.
What do improvisation and composition mean to you and what, to you, are their respective merits?
Since I am also a jazz player, improvisation is very important to me. However, I can rarely improvise anything that really satisfies me musically. I easily go back to old clichés, phrases or chord progressions that I’ve played before many times. With composing you don’t have to create in real time and have the chance to reflect and shape the composition as you like it.
The role of the composer has always been subject to change. What’s your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of composers today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
Musically, I think a composer should still aspire to create something new and original. In terms of social and political roles, I think the more recognition you get, the more important it becomes that you make your voice heard on certain issues. I personally haven’t been too involved to make my opinions public. But If I had a larger audience, I would consider it.
Some contemporary composers already have gained the attention of a wider audience though film scores and the popularity of the so called ‘neo-classical’ style. However, I wish that some of the lesser known artists would be featured more.
What equipment do you use to compose your music?
It depends what I am composing for. When I compose a cue for a film, I use my Keyboard and Logic with different sampled instrument or I record my piano at home (or a mix of the two). For this recent album, all the parts were composed on my acoustic piano at home and written down on Sibelius.
How, do you feel, could contemporary compositions reach the attention of a wider audience?
Some contemporary composers already have gained the attention of a wider audience though film scores and the popularity of the so called ‘neo-classical’ style. However, I wish that some of the lesser known artists would be featured more. For instance, I keep seeing a lot of the same names on all kinds of different playlists. But oftentimes, I enjoy the compositions of artists that I have never heard before much more. I am sure that there is a lot of undiscovered talent out there and it’s a shame that people don’t get a chance to get to know about them.
Could you tell us something about your future projects?
My next project will probably be in collaboration with my partner who is a singer/songwriter.
Where can our readers find more information about you?
The best place would probably be my Website.