Treat yourself to the fantastical, whimsical, and sometimes mischievous nature of Paul Kopetz’s MYTHICAL CREATURES, featuring a song cycle on the poetry of Svyetlana Hadgraft and a variety of inspired portraits. There’s something for everyone in this release, especially for those with a penchant for the characteresque vocal works of the 20th century.
Today, Paul is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about his wide-ranging passions outside of music, from strengthening his native Polish tongue, to various sports, culinary pursuits, and more…
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
If I were not a musician, I would still find ways to be creative. Luckily for me, I have been on my musical journey since the age of 6 virtually undistracted. I find it hard to believe that no other career options have ever been attractive enough to lure me away from music. Perhaps, I haven’t looked around hard enough either. This means however, that I have been very content doing music in all its forms, be it playing, composing, teaching, conducting, and promoting. Music for me is not a job. It is a lifestyle.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
My music has been described as poly-stylistic, meaning it is hard to box in one specific genre. As such, I feel comfortable, indeed excited, drawing inspiration from a spectrum of music creatives from Heavy Metal to Early Sacred Music. However, if I were to choose one or two collaborators, I would undoubtedly opt for artists whose craft would further widen my own creative horizons. Contemporary artists such as Sting, Arvo Pärt, Adele, John Williams, Jean-Michel Jarre, Kurt Elling, John Rutter, Frank Ticheli, and Martin Fröst would be on top of my list. If I were able to travel in time to collaborate I would be knocking on Bach’s, Stravinsky’s, Chopin’s, and Palestrina’s doors.
What advice would you give to your younger self if given the chance?
Be brave and open-minded enough to try your hand at as many things as you possibly can in your formative years. You just don’t know what you might be naturally good at. Once you figure out what really interests you and what things you feel an affinity with, become focused and work hard to explore them. Stick diligently to the path once you know what that path is. Distractions are fun but success in your chosen field is so much more fun and certainly more rewarding in the long term.
What emotions do you hope listeners will experience after hearing your work?
I hope my music has enough emotional, technical, and artistic depth to satisfy even the most discerning listener. I compose to express my inner emotions, to reflect the world around me, and to engage the listener in travelling within my soundscapes. My challenge is to do so in such a way that the listener’s musical perspective and sonic boundaries are not abused but built upon. I hope this experience touches the heart, challenges the musical brain, and frees imagination.
Where and when are you at your most creative?
What still amazes me, and I haven’t been able to fully understand, is how my music brain works. Sometimes a single sound or chord will be the beginning of a diverse multi-movement work; a verse of text might inspire a humorous song cycle. At other times, a landscape triggers a totally unrelated composition of introverted character; a life event becomes an instrumental miniature. All of these impulses to create are so unpredictable and — at the same time — welcomed that all I need to do is to be ready, be it at 5 a.m., after an exhausting day of work, or while cooking dinner or while watching TV. I find myself the least creative when I sit down to “compose.”
What are your other passions besides music?
I love exploring the natural world around me through travel, observation, or enquiry. Crossword puzzles in my native Polish sustain my bilingual skills and challenge my brain. Outdoor activities such as cycling, kayaking, fishing, and bushwalking nourish me physically. I am a sports tragic with a wide-ranging interest in all things competitive. The sports I enjoy watching are speedway, boxing, soccer, and athletics to name a few. Eating well means the world to me. Culinary diversity in my diet ties in very neatly with the poly-stylistic character of my music. However, by far the greatest passion in my life besides music is spending quality time with my wonderful wife and partner of 26 years, Rianne. I never tire of her radiant personality, her sense of wonder, and deep-seated humanity.