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Musician’s Corner

Hearing Music with Your Eyes

Art can inspire composers. Sometimes it is an integral part of the composition. Composers Zosha Di Castri and Francisco Coll explain.
May 18, 2022

Canadian composer Zosha Di Castri’s In the Half-light (which makes its World Première on May 19 & 21) is dedicated in memory of her uncle, artist Matthew Di Castri. Many of his works resonated with Zosha while she was writing this seven-movement song cycle.

“As I was writing the piece, my uncle, Matthew Di Castri, passed away very unexpectedly, so I was looking  at the text [of In the Half-light] from that lens, thinking of the threshold, of crossing over, and studying his paintings in a lot of detail. There were certain paintings that I associated with different movements—evoking the mood for each movement of the piece.”

Below are three of Matthew Di Castri’s paintings to consider as you hear her music.

See Zosha Di Castri’s Program Note for In the Half-light here.

The World Première of Francisco Coll’s Elysian (June 9 & 11) also features a piece of artwork. When composing Francisco “sees” the piece in his mind almost more, or at least as much, as he hears it.

“I have in the beginning an image about what I want to write. It’s not so much about sound, but about visual… I don’t see much difference between painting or composing…[it] is part of the same process. I usually paint a canvas in parallel with composing a piece of music. Somehow they interact and help each other.”

Listen to Francisco discuss his artwork in this interview with Kathleen Kajioka on Sunday Night at the TSO, on The New ClassicalFM, May 15, 2022. 

Francisco Coll’s painting "Elysian" in the studio of Music Director Gustavo Gimeno at Roy Thomson Hall.