Ask me a question with composer Dani Howard Jump to main content

Ask me a question with composer Dani Howard

In an excerpt from the March/April 2022 edition of our bi-monthly magazine Music Journal, ISM member and composer Dani Howard talks to us about her influences and plans for the future.

Tell us a little about yourself

I am a composer and orchestrator based in the UK, and I am really just so happy and grateful that I get to write music for a living. I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and had the most incredible range of experiences (musical and non-musical) in my childhood, and have since absolutely loved living in the UK where I completed my higher education, and have remained here to live and work. I am particularly passionate about writing orchestral music, as well as collaborating on inter-disciplinary projects with artists of all kinds.

Who (or what) has most influenced you and your career?

I have had a series of people I would call mentors throughout my life, starting with my cello teacher Richard Bamping, followed by my composition teacher during my studies at the Royal College of Music (RCM), Jonathan Cole. Both of these two individuals taught me nearly everything I know, and really created the foundation which has allowed me to become a musician. More recently a wonderful composer Mario Grigorov has been a huge mentor to me, and guided me through a range of situations and projects. It is wonderful to have people around you who you can call with the big questions, and any advice on areas that you simply have never had any experience on. These people, among many other individuals, have really helped me navigate this extremely unique, complex, and challenging career.

What would you say is your greatest achievement to date?

It is extremely difficult to pick just one, but the first project that came to mind was the hour long sound installation I composed in 2020 for the Antoni Gaudi building in Barcelona, Casa Batlló. This immersive project was just so incredible that I feel really proud to know that so many people are listening to my music on a daily basis. It was a culmination of working with a number of wonderful artists, composing an hour of music for symphony orchestra, percussion quartet and electronics, and having it all recorded, mixed, and mastered, to create the music for their newly launched audio-guide.

Who is your all-time favourite artist and why?

I could not possibly pick a single all-time favourite unfortunately! My musical influences come from such a wide range that this would simply be impossible!

What was the last CD or music download that you purchased?

I last purchased the Hamilton soundtrack - which I LOVE.

What are your plans for the future?

My big goal is to make new music more accessible to wider audiences. I would love audiences to get as excited about music by living composers as they do by Mozart and Mahler, and I am on a mission to encourage more and more performers, organisations and promoters alike to programme more music by living composers and inspire our audiences.

Finally, what is your ISM membership to you?

ISM have been a wonderful organisation to be a part of, and it is extremely re-assuring to know you have a team of people there to help if you ever need any support. I am currently working on a large contract, and the support of ISM's legal team has been most useful. It's extremely comforting to know you have this support through being an ISM member.