The following post is by my friend and mentor, Dr. Nickitas Demos, Professor of Composition and Coordinator of Composition Studies at the Georgia State University School of Music.
Nickitas is a prolific composer of music spanning multiple genres. He’s found the sweet spot where meaningful music and everyday life beautifully collide.
He’s a brilliant composer boasting an array of prestigious awards and commissions. Be sure to read more about his work via the links provided at the end of the post!
Dr. Nickitas Demos –
“I compose mostly because I feel compelled to express myself through the creation of music. It is more than simply doing something I “love” to do. I write music because I cannot not compose. This is a much different motivation than pursuing an activity for sheer enjoyment.
There are, in fact, many times during the creative process that I absolutely hate what I am doing! However, abandoning the pursuit never occurs to me. The drive to compose has been with me since early childhood.
Growing up, composers were always my heroes – even more than athletes or superheroes. As a child, I read biographies of the great composers and often procrastinated on practicing the piano in favor of improvising at the keyboard and creating my own music.
Because the creative life is so very difficult and filled with more disappointments than successes (especially early in one’s career), I believe it is important to make sure a composer has this necessary drive.
A composer really must feel that they cannot not create!
There is also a certain intrinsic conceit to writing music. After all, the composer expects that what he or she has to communicate is so important that people will take time out of their lives to sit and listen.
Because I feel compelled to create, it follows that I also must feel compelled to communicate. I believe that communicating ideas, thoughts, and emotions through music is an extremely important activity.
Creation of any Art – especially music – can be a civilizing force in a world that seems so intent on destruction and anarchy. Artistic creation seeks to bring people together in a common experience and, hopefully, to inspire them in some way.
For me, the best way to inspire others through my work is to be true to myself. To accomplish this, I must really know myself. What is it that I believe? What motivates me? Why?
After answering these questions, I must also be sure to fill my aural imagination through encountering all types of music, cinema, artwork, literature, poetry, philosophy and religion. A robust aural imagination provides the composer with the necessary tools to create, communicate and inspire.
This inevitably leads to an honest and unique compositional voice. I hope to inspire my audience by first recognizing they exist and not writing solely for myself. There can be, after all, a very fine line between self-examination and narcissism.
I hope that I am brave enough to truly reveal myself and honestly communicate with others. While terrifying and difficult, this type of honest music creation is, in the long run, very satisfying for all stakeholders: the composer, the performer, and the listener.”