Clare Loveday, composer

Clare Loveday is a Johannesburg-based composer whose works have been performed on four continents. Striving to convey through music the complications of life in a post-colonial society, her works have been described by critics in turn as 'obstinate and fierce, big-boned and raw', 'subtle' and 'elusive'. She has been described as having 'a quite individual post-tonal harmonic language' and of writing works that are 'exciting to listen to and yet obviously also enjoyable to play'.

After her undergraduate studies Clare worked as a pianist and also worked in the advertising industry as a jingle writer for, among others, Standard Bank and South African Broadcasting Corporation.

In the late 1990s Clare returned to academic life as a part-time lecturer in music theory. In 2000 she embarked on a Masters in composition and became increasingly involved in new music. As Clare became more prolific, she became known particularly for her innovations in interdisciplinary and collaborative work, and her works for the 'straight' saxophone. Her interest in the instrument had started several years before when she chose to write her first commission (from the Foundation for the Creative Arts to accompany a commissioned choreographed dance for 1996 Dance Umbrella) for alto saxophone and piano. This instrumentation - chosen for purely practical reasons - marked the beginning of a long-lasting and compositionally productive fascination with the instrument.

Clare took up a fulltime lectureship in music theory and composition at Wits University in 2004, and began work on her D. Mus in composition. It was during these five years of study that her interest in the saxophone developed into the focus of her doctoral study. One of her early works in the doctorate, Untitled for saxophone quartet, was premiered by the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet in 2006. The years of study finally culminated in Duodectet for 12 saxophones, which was selected from the independent entries for performance at the 2010 International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM) World New Music Days in Sydney. It was performed at the festival by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Saxophone Ensemble, conducted by Michael Duke. The same work, arranged for eight saxophones, was performed three days later at the Royal College of Music in London, conducted by Kyle Horch.

Over the years, Clare has been commissioned by numerous commissioning bodies, performers and creative artists. The Southern African Music Rights Organisation has commissioned many works, including a saxophone concerto and a work for choir, saxophone and marimba. A recent commission was from Nandi Mnthambo, the 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year, for whom she wrote Paso Doble, a reinterpretation of the traditional Spanish dance to accompany the artist's video of the same name.

Clare has worked on numerous collaborations over the years, and relishes the process of working with creative artists from different disciplines. Her years at the Wits School of Arts coincided with a strong focus on and support for interdisciplinary and innovative creative work, which facilitated a number of Clare's collaborative projects. Most notable of these was The Collision Project, created with fine artist and scenographer Gerhard Marx who lectured at the time in the Division of Dramatic Arts. Clare's other collaborative partners have included Jill Trappler, a Cape Town-based artist, with whom she worked on Arc for solo baritone saxophone in response to Trapplers' abstract painting Stella Rosa. The Floating Underwater series, a DVD resulting from another collaborative project with Trappler, features virtuoso birbyne player Darius Klisys (the birbyne is a traditional Lithuanian reed pipe) and was created with video artist Nick Potgieter. The DVD was selected as part of the Waters - VesiƤ - Amanzi exhibition to tour Finland in 2011.

Although composition is her main focus, Clare is also developing research interests, most particularly in the straight saxophone and issues of identity around art music composition in the global south.

Currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, she is actively involved in the new music scene in South Africa, served for many years on the executive committee of NewMusic South Africa, and is part of 'Music Now'.