Composers share ideas


A select audience was privileged to be part of an interactive discussion with two composers, Paul Lewis and Polo Piatti, at the OPUS Theatre in Hastings on Saturday afternoon, February 9. Each talked about their busy and fascinating career answering questions about what inspired them, and how much musicians should stay true to themselves rather than compromising for popular taste.

Paul Lewis was born in 1943 into a musical family, his mother was a violinist, his uncle and aunts all played in the picture houses to silent movies in the 1920s. Paul at the age of 20 composed music for a TV drama, then worked three years in publishing before becoming a full-time composer producing a stream of TV, film and orchestral music. He also mentioned that in 2011 he conducted the opening concert in St Mary’s Church at the 40th anniversary of the Rye Arts Festival with guest artist Sharon Elizabeth, a soprano.

“Forget-me-not wearing trousers”

On another day in the 2011 Festival, Sharon gave a magical performance, called “I Sing on cake”, baking a cake on the stage while enchanting the audience with opera excerpts. People loved it. Sharon has now morphed into a cabaret performer, more raunchy and sassy, singing a different genre such as Cole Porter.

Two friends sharing musical ideas

Polo Piatti, composer and pianist has world wide acclaim and is the founder of the OPUS Theater hosting international musicians and theater performances.  He told the audience that he is often criticised for retaining the romanticism in his compositions but feels he must follow his heart and what inspires him. He said that in his dream a melody appears and he is compelled to get up in the middle of the night to write it down exactly as he heard it and only then does he add the instruments one by one. For Polo it was important that a composition is beautifully constructed, “tuneful classical” and not the “oral sound of a dentist drill”.

The two hours went much to quickly with a lot of laughter touching on the various facets of music relating to our environment, as well as hearing some of Paul’s music and Polo on the piano. For more information visit:,,,

Image Credits: Alison Baskerville , Heidi Foster, taken from poster .

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