Victoria Symphony Pops: 007 and Other Spies
When: Today at 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
Where: Royal Theatre
Tickets: $35 to $55 (plus service charges).Discounts for students and seniors
Many composers struggle to find musicians to play their music publicly.
But at only 19, Jared Richardson makes it look easy: He’s already watching the Victoria Symphony orchestra rehearse one of his pieces for a large-scale concert. For the second time.
The Victoria Symphony will perform his five-minute piece Double Agent as part of its movie-themed program, 007 and Other Spies, today through Sunday.
“When we heard the piece, we immediately felt the success of it and that it very much matched the programming,” said music director Tania Miller. “He writes with an immediacy, in terms of connecting to audiences. He seems to be very secure and confident, with a lot of great ideas in terms of orchestration.”
Local audiences will remember Richardson as the first and only “young composer” featured at Victoria Symphony Splash. In 2011, the orchestra performed Winds of Kananaskis — an adventuresome piece he wrote at only 15 — for an audience of about 40,000 in the Inner Harbour.
The View Royal resident has composed more than 80 pieces since his first at age 11.
But he’s always had an end goal in sight: Scoring films. And with the Victoria Symphony performing his piece Double Agent alongside fan favourites like The James Bond Theme, The Pink Panther and Mission: Impossible, he’s one step closer.
Double Agent was the first piece Richardson actually wrote for film — an action-comedy made by a friend starring a videogame character. And while he’s hesitant to dwell on its humble beginnings, it was a natural place to start.
“It was just kind of a low-budget, amateur film,” he said. “But it was great practice for film scoring, which is what I’m interested in as a career.”
Among his most influential composers, Richardsons named John Williams (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones).
“Name a really popular movie and he wrote the music,” he said.
Another favourite is Japan’s Koji Kondo, who writes music for video games like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros.
In the space between his Splash performance and this one, there have been a few significant changes in Richardson’s life. He’s now in his second year at UVic’s School of Music, with sights set on finishing his degree at either the Juilliard School or the Berklee College of Music, which offers a specialized program in film scoring.
In addition to these concerts, his works have been performed at informal score-reading sessions by both the Victoria Symphony and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Those sessions, designed for composers to hear and workshop their own pieces, are where the Victoria Symphony picked up both Winds of Kananaskis and Double Agent.
But in the same timespan, Richardson says his process has remained largely the same.
Sometimes he writes for specific projects like films, where he tries to capture a specific feeling. Other times it’s inspired by a place. But most often, he gets inspiration walking around his wooded View Royal neighbourhood.
“Being outside and moving around really helps my creativity. That’s really the time when I come up with my best ideas, not when I’m near a musical instrument, but when I’m out in nature,” he said.
While the Victoria Symphony doesn’t often perform works by such young composers, Miller said the orchestra is pleased to support Richardson.
“It’s just exciting for us to support a young composer with the enormous talent that he clearly has — one who is working right in and growing up in Victoria,” she said.
There’s extremely tight competition among composers who wish to write for orchestra, she said. But Richardson has a strong voice.
“I think Jared’s style tends to be extremely imaginative, but also relating to movie and film sounds and melodic ideas. What I think really stands out is that he’s got an extraordinary energy, and that kind of excitement that perhaps his youth brings to his writing,” she said. “But at the same time, for his age especially, he’s got an extraordinary understanding of how to orchestrate and how to successfully bring off his ideas so that they work with an orchestra.”
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