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Wild Air: the music of Kevin Volans
Bob Gilmore
<< November/December 2006 : Volume 6, Number 6 >>

Continuing his series of articles on Irish composers, Bob Gilmore interviews Kevin Volans. Originally from South Africa, Volans was a student of Stockhausen, a close friend of Morton Feldman, and a recording by the Kronos Quartet of his work, 'White Man Sleeps', on Pieces of Africa, spent twenty-six weeks at the top of the classical and world music charts.

‘In composing and in life in general there’s only one subject worth pursuing, and that is freedom. Freedom not only from other people’s restrictions but freedom from your own baggage’. Kevin Volans is talking to me about the primary subject in his work, the basic tenet that underlies everything he does. ‘It always involves overcoming, because you’re always trying to throw out’. Freedom, that most elusive of human desires, has always seemed to me a chimera, a scary product of the liberal imagination, something that can never be real and would be too frightening to contemplate if it were. But I want to understand what he means by freedom, because I feel I hear something equivalent in his music: a sense of wide horizons, of open spaces...

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