New York-based Canadian composer, Zosha Di Castri spoke to me via Zoom May 9, ten days before her piece, In the Half-light, receives its world premiere performance under the baton of Toronto Symphony Orchestra Music Director Gustavo Gimeno.
Given the fact that the magazine goes into circulation the day of the concert, most readers will be reading this after that first performance is over. So our plan is to post the full length conversation after the event. But here’s a worthwhile snippet – Di Castri touching on some of the things that made this a particularly gratifying collaboration (something not to be taken for granted, especially in an orchestral context).
“The TSO approached me quite a while ago for this project,” Di Castri says. “As far back as 2019 I think. At that time I was living in Paris and they said would you be interested in writing something for the orchestra and Barbara [Hannigan] for our 100th season and I was immediately super-excited because if someone said is there any singer you could dream you would ever work with it would be her. So it just seemed so amazing that this opportunity would come up. We had met a while ago, in summer 2014, I think, in Santa Fe in a program called Creative Dialogues organized in part by the Sibelius Academy, kind of a Finnish/US partnership – composers and performers along with guest mentors for the people developing pieces. And Barbara was one of my mentors and conducted my piece which was a short chamber piece. So I had gotten to know her a bit there and was excited that she had proposed my name to the TSO as somebody who might be right for this project.”