Clio Montrey

This week we dive into the musical world of the composer and mezzosoprano Clio Montrey! Photo credit: Georg Aufreiter

We all know HELLO STAGE’s favorite color! What’s yours?

Green. Listen. soundcloud.com/clio-em/green

What was the best advice a teacher ever gave you?

Always think ahead to the next step. Be present.

My operetta teacher, Wolfgang Dosch, taught me this in the context of interpreting music on stage. So it is with everything in life. Now I always think ahead. I am present in the moment, but I also anticipate. I think of what I am doing, and of what I must do next.

How has your practice changed with time?

I have become open to new directions and innovative possibilities. Whereas at the beginning of my musical practice I tried hard to adjust and learn, now I work across form and genre. I integrate different types of media into one work. And I definitely enjoy crossing over into the popular realm.

What do you think is the most important trait of a successful artist in today’s modern world?

Versatility and the ability to adjust to unexpected situations.

I devote much of my creative energy to two concurrent long-term projects. One is Fleurs rejetées, ( fleursrejetees.tumblr.com, facebook.com/fleursrejetees, @fleursrejetees on twitter) a concert series I launch on November 10 at Résonance Café in Montreal. This is a sort of salon des refusés for contemporary classical music.

I compose, perform, and write as Clio Em for my classical/folktronica crossover project (clioem.com).

Both musical directions inform each other. I firmly believe that I am a stronger and more capable artist for engaging in both streams.

How much time do you spend every day on Facebook, twitter, and which other ways do you use to promote yourself?

I am online daily while I work on various tasks, and I share information when I consider it well timed and relevant. I focus efforts on my Twitter (@ClioEm) and blog (clioem.com). Every week I upload a certain amount of new content on my own networks; I am my own personal social media strategist and I take this responsibility seriously.

Clio, you are a known creative multi-tasker - you are even finding the time to write a sci-fi novel! Tell us more :)

I woke up on one of the first mornings of 2015 with vivid mountain imagery burned into my mind from a dream. I knew I had to create something based on this image, but music didn’t feel like the way to go at that point, and neither did visuals, so I began writing a story. I assumed I would end up similar to my other written work, which typically takes the form of short stories, but something kept me going. By the end of January, I had a rough draft of a novel.

I wrote my album Gravity Wing based on this this science fiction love story. I am still working on the novel, editing and rewriting. I expect to publish it in 2016.

When you are not composing, writing, performing you are...

Most likely reading, or else drinking coffee with a friend.

You are often between your home, Montreal in Canada and Vienna - what do you love most about each city?

Actually, I have two hometowns in Canada. One is my original hometown of Calgary, where I grew up. Alberta (the province where I was born) is my true home. This is the place that provided much of the inspiration for my novel’s atmosphere.

Calgary is a city that is quite literally a gateway to the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies are imposing, beautiful, raw, and emerge from the soul of the Earth. They demand powerful music.

Montreal is a charming, beautiful, energetic place. Beauty there is both whimsical and classical, and waiting around every corner: summer rainstorms followed by sudden rainbows, cellists performing in the park, flowers erupting gloriously from untidy yet spirited gardens. In winter, the snow reflects the city’s many stories.

Vienna is very different, and also provided inspiration for my novel. Like a rose in a conservatory, Vienna is in many ways the quintessential European city. Imposing and charming architecture coexists with steely innovation. Music feeds the musicians and vice versa; I feel so much drive to compose when I am in Vienna.

I believe that the contrast between these three cities is what helps drive my creative engine.

...and you favorite place for a coffee is?

Different in each city! In Vienna, I adore bookshop/café Phil and cupcake shop Brass Monkey. In Montreal, Résonance Café is my favourite, and in Calgary, it’s the Good Earth Café, Glenmore Landing. I have, perhaps not so coincidentally, played crossover music in each of these spaces.

Share you favorite quote with us...

“L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” (That which is essential is invisible to the eye).
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le petit prince

Follow Clio Montrey on HELLO STAGE!
Author: Nina Lucas HELLO STAGE
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