Is structure mandatory?

Last updated Dec 19, 2019 | Published on May 24, 2015

Winner of a fellowship at the Bayreuther Festspiele, Mr. Griglio’s conducting has been praised for his “energy” and “fine details”. Mr. Griglio took part in the first world recording of music by composer Irwin Bazelon and conducted several world premieres like "The song of Eddie", by Harold Farberman, a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize. Principal Conductor of International Opera Theater Philadelphia for four years, Mr.Griglio is also active as a composer. His first opera, Camille Claudel, debuted in 2013 to a great success of audience and critics. Mr. Griglio is presently working on an opera on Caravaggio and Music Director of Opera Odyssey.
Some say it’s essential to have a structure before you start writing anything. I don’t quite share that opinion, at least not completely.

A structure can be very useful, but also very constraining.

Personally, I form an idea of the whole piece once I’ve started it, but before thinking about structure I need to get the general feeling of it.

It’s like looking at a landscape through the fog: you can’t see the contours clearly, but you get the idea of it.

Often, if you just let youserlf go,

you’ll land in places where you could have never landed

if you were trying to fill in the blanks of a superimposed structure.

Generally speaking, I start thinking about a structure when I hit a wall in the flow and I realize I need to go back to some material in order to make a point come through. That’s when structure and craftmanship comes in handy.

Piece of advice: there’s no need to reinvent the wheel: study great composers of the past, constantly.

What they did, worked. For a reason.


Cover image by Lucas Craig from Pexels

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Gianmaria Griglio is an intelligent, exceptional musician. There is no question about his conducting abilities: he has exceptionally clear baton technique that allows him to articulate whatever decisions he has made about the music.

Harold Farberman

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