Meet Clint Borzoni: Composer and Artist in Residence

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Composer Clint Borzoni was first introduced to Music Marin by his friend Michael Colbruno. “He commissioned me to write two songs for baritone Marco Vassalli,” explains Borzoni. “Musica Marin premiered those two songs at their concert on January 22, 2016.”

We talked to Borzoni about his career, his work with Music Marin and what else he’s working on.

MUSIC MARIN: You will be Music Marin’s first Composer-in-Residence. Can you tell our readers what that means and what will your role be?

CLINT BORZONI: I am deeply humbled and honored to be Musica Marin’s first Composer-in-Residence. This is an incredible opportunity. Through my residency, Musica Marin will be presenting and giving World Premieres of my music throughout their season. So far they have premiered the two songs Michael commissioned, and a String Quartet Suite was written specifically for the Musica Marin String Quartet.

Having such world class performers play my compositions is extremely beneficial to me as a composer. I have learned so much from all the musicians I have worked with through Musica Marin. This residency is like a laboratory for me to experiment in. I also have an advisory role regarding the programming and concepts of the season, and I will mentor the recipient of The Musica Marin Clint Borzoni Young American Composers Award.

MM: When did you start getting interested in music and why? Is your family musical or was it a passion that grew from somewhere else?

CB: My first exposure to classical music was through watching Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry when I was five years old. I LOVED the music they would play and asked my mother what it was since I never heard it anywhere else. She explained it was called classical music and written a long time ago. I asked her if she had any in her collection of 8 track tapes. She said she did since she listened to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony when she was pregnant with me, and to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” when she use to play on the Basketball, Volley Ball, and Softball teams in HS.

My mother and I would make regular trips to music stores, and at seven years old I had my first piano lesson. I wasn’t very good at music but practiced all the time. I wrote my first piece when I was ten years old. I got tired of playing “Fur Elise” and wanted to come up with something else to keep myself entertained. My teacher encouraged my composing, and I wrote about 15 more pieces until I was 17 years old.

MM: What inspires you to create?

CB: I need to create. I have always needed to express myself. Either through acting, dancing, painting, drawing, by writing poems, playing the piano, and eventually through composing. Nothing fulfills my need to create more than writing music. If I don’t compose every day I become cranky. I am inspired by my life, partner, family, friends, strangers, nature, the stars, and whatever else crosses my path.

MM: You’re a very prolific composer. Can you tell us a bit about the kind of pieces you’ve produced? And do you have a favorite?

CB: My favorite thing to write is vocal music. When I was six years old, I heard a friend of mine who was a young soprano perform. I thought her voice and vibrato was so beautiful, and the seed of my love for writing for the voice was planted.

I first started to study opera in college and wrote songs for friends of mine because of how much I enjoyed hearing them sing. Through these songs, I was accepted to be part of the American Opera Projects Composers and the Voice series in 2007.

Since completing these programs, I have been commissioned by singers to write almost fifty art songs. I have also completed two one-act operas, and three full-length operas (two of them commissions).

Through every new song, I am learning how to write better for the voice. Through every new opera, I have gained a better understanding of how to control drama, keep an audience’s attention, and how to pace a large scale piece of music.

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