A Q&A with Award-Winning Greek composer and recording artist Zinovia Arvanitidi

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  1. How has transitioning from Greece to France affected your musical influences and your career?

    I’ve always loved and admired French composers like Maurice Jarre, Georges Delerue, Philippe Sarde and Alexandre Desplat. Living in France made me come even closer to such influences. The landscape, the weather, the architecture and French culture inspire me to a point that I feel in my element since I’ve moved here. On the other hand, making a career abroad is not easy. It’s an ongoing sink-or-swim situation, but I am devoted to my work and determined to pursue my goals more than ever. No matter the difficulties, I’ve learned that with each effort comes an accomplishment, whether it’s big or small.

  2. You have been recognized with a “Golden Umbrella” Award for your work composing music for the Russian television show, Golden Horde. Tell us about that experience.

    It was a wonderful, as well as a challenging, experience I had with Golden Horde. Having to write medieval epic music for battles and suspense scenes was something I had never done before, and I was intimidated by it. In addition, as the series is in Russian, there were no subtitles or any translation on the cues I was scoring, so when immediate help was not available, I had to rely on my intuition. I learned a lot from this work, and I am glad it all went well in the end.

  3. Do you have a signature sound? What are your favorite instruments to compose with and why?

    I love lush strings, intimate-sounding pianos, the cello and the clarinet. I aim to express emotions with my music, and I am attracted by instruments that have a deeply expressive range and articulations. A signature sound is something a composer develops after a certain time of experimenting with various instrumentations and experience with what works and what does not. I believe I still have time to discover a lot of things.

  4. How do you approach a project when you are scoring a tv series or film?

    I am the kind of composer that works with intuition and empathy and I need to communicate as much as possible with the director and gather as much information about the story as possible. I do a lot of research before starting to write and what inspires me the most are conversations about the story and the characters of the film, not just a script. While I let all theinformation sink in, I compose inside my head before I put my fingers on the piano.

  5. Your music has a strong lyrical quality and is full of memorable melodic themes, something less frequent in soundtracks today. Is this a conscious decision?

    All the films I can remember until now are the ones that had a strong emotional impact to me. The reason is that their music was not only beautiful but also memorable. John Williams, Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, Henri Mancini, are only a few of the brilliant composers that created such strong emotional connections between their music and the audience, with films that last through time. I miss that a lot in recent films and I have made a conscious decision follow that path with my music.

  6. You are also releasing albums as a solo artist and your most recent album was Ivory. What inspired you to create it? What did you learn?

     

    All my albums are inspired from my life and each of them has a certain concept.

    On Ivory, I was inspired from the quote by Albert Camus “There is a life, there is a death, and there’s beauty and melancholy in between”. Making albums is liberating for me as I feel free to express myself without any instructions or limitations. I have learned that this kind of freedom can help to develop your personality as a musician and to discover your own sound eventually.

    Interview by Valerie Manahan

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