Composer’s Spotlight Series: Imogen “Imi” Israel’s Enchanting Rendition of ‘Nataliana’ for School Coursework
Imogen Israel is an accomplished and passionate musician whose musical talent spans across multiple instruments and genres. Her performance of Nataliana, a beautiful and expressive composition, showcases her musicality and emotional depth.
Imogen’s experience with Nataliana has expanded her repertoire and taught her the importance of playing pieces that she enjoys. Her advice for those learning the piece is to let go of perfection and embrace the music’s inspiration.
Overall, Imogen’s performance and interview with the composer are inspiring and will motivate readers to listen to the piece and explore Imogen’s musical journey further.
Imogen Israel is an aspiring and versatile musician, who started her public performance with voice and harp at a young age. She later joined the UK National Youth Harp Orchestra.
Her musical aspirations have gone from strength to strength with an eclectic mix that includes harp, piano, voice, and drums. Her musical repertoire ranges from classical voice (Handel) and Peruvian-inspired harp (Firedance, Watkins), to contemporary and jazz.
Imogen is a Music Scholar who pushes herself to independent learning and new musical experiences, trying various instruments and sampling music from differing genres. She has a passion for music that is demonstrable and committed.
Continue reading below for the full interview with Imogen Israel
Here’s a beautiful performance of my composition, Nataliana, by aspiring harpist Imogen Israel – as coursework for her school exams on the 22nd of March 2023 in Hampshire, UK.
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A Mini-Interview with Imogen
How would you describe your experience of playing the piece?
Catharsis, Imperfection, Escapism, Focused.
What do people say when you play this piece? Do you have favorite memories of people’s reactions to it?
Lots of people comment on the ambiance it creates through the many opportunities for musical expression. When I was 14 I panicked before a concert and attempted to pull out, however, I was convinced to play Nataliana anyway. I don’t know whether the emotional turmoil fuelled my creativity or if I was just not believing in myself but afterward, someone said to me “You are a real musician, and do you know why? You don’t just play the music, you feel it”.
What drew you to this piece – why did you choose to learn it?
My former harp teacher had always encouraged me that before I moved school, she would teach me Nataliana as in her words ‘it was an Imogen piece’. I think what drew me in was the way she was so enthusiastic that this piece was perfect for me, and I trusted her, and she was right.
What does this piece add to your repertoire (and/or your life) that you didn’t have before?
Learning Nataliana encouraged me to be passionate and expressive while performing in a way that I hadn’t touched on previously, ultimately this has expanded my repertoire greatly by giving me skills that I can apply to all my pieces to improve my general musicality. It also showed me the importance of playing pieces that you enjoy.
What would you tell someone else who’s thinking of learning this piece that you wish you’d known before you learned it?
Personally, I wish I had spent less time drilling bar by bar and more time enjoying playing the piece the whole way through and really resonating with the music, regardless of mistakes. With Nataliana, I liked the piece, but I was only passionate about the music when I let go of perfection and let the piece inspire me.
What do you think you can get from working directly with the composer of the piece that you can’t get from the sheet music?
The meaning and intent behind the music. The musical expression pointers direct from the composer show you how they were feeling when they wrote the piece and what atmosphere they wanted to create with the notes, giving you the most accurate perception of the meaning/intent of the piece and what inspired the composer.
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Stay tuned for more artists soon and check out my Composer’s Spotlight blog series, featuring other talented musicians who played my song!
I am so moved by the beauty, freedom, and self-expression of the artists who play my music. We, together, have a creative voice we could never have alone.
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I want to hear it!