The next day’s we’ll introduce the finalists of the 9th European Composers Competition. Today you can get to know Gauthier Dupertius (Switzerland), the composer of Magdalena Bay.

Gauthier Dupertuis (Switzerland)

Date of birth: 26 October 1997
Birthplace (or Residence): Vernayaz, Valais, Switzerland. Currently living in Fribourg, Switzerland.
Music Education: Master’s degree in musicology and Philosophy at University of Fribourg, choir and orchestra conducting certificates at Fribourg Conservatory and Berne University of Arts. Currently studying a master’s degree in conducting with Jean-Claude Kolly at Lausanne University of Music.
Plays with (orchestras/bands): I am a retired euphonist doing his best to learn how to play the piano.
Other musical activities: I’m currently conducting two wind bands and a brass band in the region of Fribourg and I also work as a free-lance guest conductor and composer.

Can you tell something about your composition Magdalena Bay?

The music takes inspiration of the painting “Magdalena Bay” by French painter François Auguste Biard (1799-1882), depicting a magnificent snowy landscape on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. However, in the foreground, the presence of the wreckage of a ship, bodies covered in snow and a visibly dying character make us understand that tragic events took place there. Thus, a strong contrast is formed between death and the sublime, between the desolation of the survivors of the shipwreck and the magnificence of the landscape.

In my work, I tried to describe the different elements of the painting, using contrasting sections and dissonances.

Do you compose from your ‘head’ or ‘heart’?

I would say that I do both. At first, everything comes from the “heart” : the first ideas, some themes, colors, atmospheres… but to bring it to life, we also need the “head” : it needs clear ideas of structure, then a development of the themes and some esthetical consistency.

What (or who) influenced you in composing?

It think my teacher Jean-Claude Kolly, who also is a composer, has always been a source of inspiration for me. The wind and brass band repertoire that we studied in orchestration classes, but also his teaching in conducting showed me how deep the art of composing can be. He also always supported me to try composition. Then, the support of swiss composer Franco Cesarini has also been very important, as he has been my publisher since 2022. I’m very grateful to them for this.
Regarding composig for Brass Band, I cannot deny the influence of composers of the swiss brass band scene: Etienne Crausaz, who also was my teacher, but also Oliver Waespi and Ludovic Neurohr. As well, my endless love for film music (John Williams, Dany Elfman) cannot be put aside.

How did you start composing? Was it a logical next step after playing/studying music?

I think that I have always had some interest in compsing. It seems that I wrote a duet for recorder for an audition at my town’s music school, when I was 9 years old. I would pay a lot to get my hands on it! Then, when I was about twelve years old, I discovered Harmony Assistant, a music notation program whose trial version only allowed me to produce music of 8 seconds or less. So, I had fun creating some (very short) compositions for wind band. During my teenage years, I wrote arrangements of video game music I liked: this allowed me to improve my ear and orchestration skills. My first real wind band compositions also date from this time: those pieces are very much unplayable, but already have certain characteristics of my current music. In the next years, after my studies, I see myself working as a conductor, as a composer, and as a music and philosophy teacher at college or in a conservatory.

Do you use a pattern when composing? Hours at a time or whenever you find the time, by day or night, in complete seclusion or …

I do not have any composing pattern yet, which can sometimes be very time-consuming, but I usually try some ideas of the piano before going straight to Sibelius. I work hours at a time, preferably late at night or early in the morning, in complete seclusion and always with a lot of stress: I really do need a deadline to compose efficiently, and I often dedicate myself 100% to this when it approaches. I actually started composing Magdalena Bay from scratch less than 4 weeks before the contest’s due date, in the middle of the end-of-year celebrations, also knowing that I was going to Belgium for a week to spend the New Year with friends… which is not the best plan to work efficiently, as you can guess. I must confess that I cannot really figure out how I managed it.

The final of the European Composers Competition will be played by the Cory Band joined by the European Youth Brass Band, Thursday 2 May in the Palanga Concerthall at 20:00.

Buy your tickets.

Preparations for EBBC 2024 Palanga is partially financed by Lithuanian Council for Culture.