Music

Painting music

GOING WITH THE FLOW: Rahel Senn

GOING WITH THE FLOW: Rahel Senn  

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For pianist Rahel Senn composing music is an intensely creative experience, one that cannot be described in words

“I am a painter of notes,” says the Young Steinway International artist, Rahel Senn, who was in Bangalore last week. Marking her first visit to India, the pianist of Swedish and Singaporean descent, performed Retour à l'art Brut, a concert comprising self-composed music such as Farewell Waltz, Song of a Magnolia Danseuse, among others, and a masterpiece on the Five Elements Wu Xing at the Mövenpick Hotel and Spa.

Composing music is what she enjoys the most as it gives free reign to her boundless creativity. “A composer fills space with melodies, like a painter fills a blank canvas with colour. I see notes as a palette of colours from which I paint my music. It is not a mechanical process, even though the technical aspects are important,” says Rahel who composed two award winning musicals Totaler Wahnsinn and Sanskaja, when she was 17 and 19, respectively.

Her most memorable performance was at the Singapore Botanical, where she played her composition Wu Xing. “It was an outdoor concert. As soon as I began playing the piece on water, it began to drizzle. When I played fire, it stopped raining. And towards the end of the performance, there emerged a beautiful rainbow. It was magic and it seemed as if life, in that moment, was in perfect harmony.”

Even though Rahel is considered a child protégée, and has composed music for two films, theatre productions and five musicals and has to her credit two solo albums, she doesn’t rest on her laurels. Nor does she wax eloquent on her knowledge on music. Instead, she says that her music is inspired by life and people. That music is a job that she chose and that she loves. “Some people think artists or musicians are different or crazy. As an artist, I stay true to myself and go with the flow.”

Rahel’s music is innovative for its combination of pop and Western Classical music. She trained in Classical music at the Conservatory of Lucerne under the tutelage of renowned Russian concert pianist Konstantin Lifschitz. Rahel prefers not to be bound by norms. “The Conservatory had too many rules, I wanted to go beyond that and express myself fully through the piano.”

Rahel loves to perform for children. “Children don’t fake appreciation, their reactions are spontaneous and so it is always interesting to see their response to my music. At a concert once, I had performed a self composed Waltz. It was a serious, almost mechanical piece of music, but the children whom I invited on stage, danced to it!”

Apart from the piano, Rahel likes to play the guitar. When she isn’t composing music, she either paints or reads; she has varied interests. She also loves football and mountain biking.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 9:34:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/painting-music/article3892928.ece

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