Composer Daria Novo on her Score for “…two united in a single soul…”

Can you describe the score you’ve created for this ballet?

Daria Novo: I took original Handel music and integrated it with electronics and my own music so that it sounds interesting and still like classical music. I experimented with different audio plug-ins, libraries, and sound effects to create “hybrid” style music. It was a challenge, frankly speaking, it was my first big project with so much production.

What was your process in creating this music?

DN: I had to create a demo very quickly so that Yuri could begin rehearsing. I took original Handel arias and played them with sample orchestra, simultaneously adding electronic elements. For some arias Yuri wanted to have more music, so I composed my own transitions and sections trying to fill out empty spots organically.

After I was done with the demo, I created a score for full orchestra. Since there are electronics, I had to figure out the simplest way to integrate those elements into live performance. I used software called Ableton Live to trigger audio playback (which will be playing together with the live orchestra) to create my own samples, which will be performed from the keyboards live from the pit. The process was complicated for me, but I did my best so that it would not be complicated for the musicians.

How much direction did Yuri Possokhov give you?

DN: Yuri knew what he wanted and was very clear. He explained all his ideas and described every movement. It was very helpful. There were some changes and revisions, but not a lot. I have never worked with a ballet before and I think I learned a lot from Yuri.

Did you have the myth of Narcissus in mind while creating the music?

DN: Definitely. My idea was to use a harpsichord as Narcissus’ main instrument in two different ways—acoustic sound from a real harpsichord and processed sound from a keyboard. Like reflection in a wrong mirror, something real and organic becomes artificial and heartless. Narcissus saw himself in a river and fell in love so deeply that died. I tried to use this contrast in music as well.

Have you worked in dance before? Are the priorities different in creating/arranging music for dance?

DN: I have never worked with dance before, but I always wanted to. I had to remember to keep in mind that dancers can only dance so long. I tried to make contrasting sections in long movements so that Yuri could change groups of dancers accordingly.

What would you like audience members to know about you and about the music, to better understand the piece?

DN: I have a very strong classical education and I began working with electronics only after I came to the USA about three years ago. Although I work almost in any genre (mobile games, films, orchestrations, vocal covers, choral music, etc.), I would say it is important for me to have this purity and harmony of classical music in my style. In other words, I want my music to sound beautiful and not too experimental or strange.

Daria Novo is a Russian composer, arranger, and orchestrator working mainly in scoring for films, animation and games, as well as music for theater. Her original arrangements for a cappella choir have a special place in her work.

Novo earned her master’s degree in choral conducting from the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory named after N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov in 2010. While studying at the Conservatory, she worked as a singer and arranger for the Saint Petersburg Concert Choir conducted by Vladimir Begletsov, where she composed her first program of arrangements entitled “Forbidden Songs” (2008). Since 2013, Novo has held the position of orchestrator in residence for the St. Petersburg Theater of Musical Comedy.

Novo has worked as an orchestrator alongside many famous Russian film composers such as Ivan Burlyaev (Prizrak, Attraction), Maksim Koshevarov (“Young Guard”), Dmitry Noskov (“Quackerz”), Michail Chertischev (“Barboskiny,” “Luntik”). She has composed music for puppet shows at “Stray Dog” Puppet Theater and Krasnodar Regional Puppet Theater.

Novo is the laureate of the Youth prize of St. Petersburg in the field of Art (2013). In 2017, she graduated from a Professional Study Diploma in Technology and Applied Composition at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Novo is currently working at San Francisco Conservatory of Music as a recording engineer and music composition teacher, composing music for mobile games, and continuing working with Russian theaters remotely.


Header photo: Daria Novo

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