Opportunity too good to miss

Dylan Lardelli is the 2018 Mozart Fellow. Photo: Linda Robertson
Dylan Lardelli is the 2018 Mozart Fellow. Photo: Linda Robertson
Described as a ‘‘bright light’’ in New Zealand’s music scene, guitarist and composer Dylan Lardelli is settling in to Dunedin as the University of Otago’s 2018 Mozart Fellow. He spoke to Rebecca Fox about having time to concentrate on his music.

Dylan Lardelli may have started playing a musical instrument a bit later than most people, but it has not slowed him down.

The guitarist and composer is making a name for himself with his works played around the world by musicians, including Lucas Vis, the Cygnus Ensemble, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Stroma and 175 East.

It all started when Lardelli picked up his sister's guitar aged 7, although he did not start lessons until he was at high school in the Hawke's Bay.

He also began learning the cello at the same time.

However, he chose to concentrate on guitar when he went to Victoria University.

''I couldn't do everything. I picked it [the guitar] up more rapidly and I liked the fact you could accompany yourself.''

Lardelli also chose to study composition.

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in guitar performance and a master's degree in composition, he was named as composer in residence with the Auckland Philharmonia, before going on to study in Venice with Stefano Bellon in 2006, with support from Creative New Zealand's Edwin Carr Scholarship.

Later, with the help of a DAAD (German Academic Exchange), he studied with Dieter Mack at the Lubeck Musikhochschule (Lubeck Academy of Music) in Germany.

He has won a number of awards including the Asian Composers League Young Composers' Competition in 2003.

His pieces have been included in the Gaudeamus music week held in Amsterdam and the Darmstadt New Music Festival.

Lardelli was attracted to the Mozart Fellowship because of the opportunity to concentrate on his music for a full year.

The fellowship, formed in 1969, aims to aid and encourage composers in the practice and advancement of their art, to associate them with the life of the university and to foster an interest in contemporary music within the university and in the community.

It also provides the minimum salary of a fulltime university lecturer and a studio/office space for the year.

''I felt it was a good chance to concentrate on music for an extended period of time without having to worry about other things.''

The idea of coming to Dunedin also appealed to the musician because he had fond memories of the city from when his sister completed her PhD at the University of Otago.

''I wanted to discover the area, and I have a few colleagues I have worked with in the past in the city as well.''

He has already held his first concert at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and hopes to do a few more throughout the year.

Next week, he is celebrating New Zealand Music Month by performing six guitar solos written by New Zealanders, including classical guitarist Matthew Marshall.

''I'll also play a few new pieces and one of mine and another by a Dunedin-based musician.''

He has a variety of projects planned. He has already completed a piece for a half German, half Japanese ensemble and has another ensemble piece in the works.

He enjoys working with ensembles and quartets and usually a relationship with a group begins by getting to know the group.

He has recently begun working with an oboe player and Ensemble Musikfabrik.

He also has an ongoing relationship with a group in Japan and performed in Tokyo in March.

The audiences in Japan are very attentive and really concentrate on a performance, he said.

''They're a bit more shy about approaching you, although some do, otherwise they are not that different to home.''

Lardelli prefers to limit his international travel to three trips a year.

''That's a good balance. It helps grow what I'm thinking about and what I want to work on.''

He usually writes in the afternoons and evenings after spending his mornings doing ''admin''.

''It takes a while for the imagination to start working.''

Lardelli hopes his year as Mozart Fellow will allow him to establish a few lasting relationships in Dunedin, as well as being able to focus on his writing.

''Connecting with the university is good, too.''


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