Read the first installment of our interview here.
SWON: What do you usually start with when composing? Tell us a bit about your process.
LEO: Without sounding overly profound, I think composing is my way of understanding the world.
Composing is my process of understanding art, literature and society. It’s also how I capture and record a moment in life. Once I know what it is that I want to express, I usually consolidate my ideas into a poetic preface. I’ll then sketch out some musical ideas as part of a structural plan. I’ll usually always deviate from the blueprint, but it’s always helpful to outline before I lock myself away and write the thing.
SWON: Does anything about your process change when commissioned to compose a piece for a specific orchestra or event, as in this case?
LEO: Beginning a piece is difficult. There are literally an infinite variety of options available. To overcome this it is all too easy to write within the parameters that you already know. Therefore, I always welcome a commission brief because it specifies the options you have available and consequently directs your creativity in a new and exhilarating direction.