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Salina Fisher is a New Zealand composer and violinist currently based in New York. Her work explores the musical traditions of Japan and New Zealand, with experiments in timbre and colour. She studied composition and violin performance at the New Zealand School of Music, and completed a Postgraduate Diploma (Distinction) in 2014 with supervisors John Psathas and Michael Norris. She is currently studying at Manhattan School of Music, New York (Master of Music in Composition) with composer/performer Susan Botti.

Catch Neil Beckmann performing her new work red grid mark phenomenon (2018) for solo electric guitar on our next Solo Soundbox concert, November 18 at 7 PM at the 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati. 

CSB: Could you tell us a little about your work as a composer? What are you interested in exploring in your music?

SF: I’ve been fascinated by sound as long as I can remember. I try not to place any limits on what might inspire me to respond musically; I love learning and growing through the fresh set of challenges that each new piece presents. I’m particularly drawn to unusual timbres, which is certainly something I had fun exploring in this piece for electric guitar & pedals, thimbles, metal slide, and e-bow!

CSB: What is the background to your piece for this concert, red grid mark phenomenon?

SF: During our first meeting, Neil happened to mention that he had recently found a perfectly grid-like red mark on his back, which disappeared after a few days. He couldn’t think of anything that could have caused it, and a quick google search showed that enough people had experienced this for it to have a name: “red grid mark phenomenon”. With no medical explanation for the phenomenon, countless online threads can be found discussing its likeliest cause: aliens. I became intrigued with the ways in which people have hypothesized about the ‘unknown’ or ‘alien’, especially at a time when I was writing for an instrument that was fairly ‘alien’ to me. Interestingly, just as I was finishing writing the piece, Neil’s red grid mark came back!

CSB: Who are other artists and composers whose work inspires and interests you?  Are there specific works you could point our readers to?

SF: Recently I had the privilege of attending the world premiere performance of Ashley Fure’s piece ‘filament’ with the New York Philharmonic. This was a completely mind-blowing sonic experience, especially in the way that it made use of the space! Other composers I’m particularly excited about at the moment would include Liza Lim, Tonia Ko, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Camila Agosto.

CSB: What other new projects are on your radar?

SF: I’m currently working on an orchestral piece for the Manhattan School of Music Orchestra, where I’m currently studying. After that, I’ll be writing a piece for cello and piano to be performed by Matthew Barley and Stephen de Pledge next year.