Clint Borzoni began studying music at age seven and wrote his first composition at age eleven. Now 29 years old, he’s composed more than 40 pieces, including a piano concerto, percussion quartet, a couple of sting quartets and chamber orchestra works and loads of songs.
A New York City resident, he received his bachelors and masters degrees at CUNY. His musical theater work “My Life as a Bald Soprano” premiered in 2008 at the June Havoc Theater in New York.
Late last year the baritone Randall Turner premiered two of Borzoni’s songs on a recital program – given in New York and San Francisco – that also included music of Ricky Ian Gordon, Jake Heggie and Glen Roven.
What are you working on these days?
Over the last few years I have found that I love writing vocal music. I am an emotional person and gravitate towards the voice because of its unpredictability and intimacy. So it’s no surprise that opera has called to me as well. Growing up, my mom took me to tons of movies, musicals, and operas. Afterward we would always chat about the plot holes and whether the work made us “feel something.” We still have the same discussions, but now it’s about my pieces.
At the moment I am working on the music for my second opera Antinous and Hadrian, with librettist Edward Ficklin, commissioned by operamission. It is a new full-length opera about the second century Roman emperor Hadrian and his love for the Greek youth Antinous. The story examines the mystery behind the tragic death of Antinous. Upon his death, the distraught Emperor declared his beloved a God.
How much do you travel for your work? Do you find it stimulating or a hassle?
I recently traveled to San Francisco for the premiere of two songs I wrote for baritone Randal Turner. I love traveling to new places and meeting new people, especially if it’s for work. As a composer, my visits are long enough to get some sightseeing in and short enough as not to disturb my routine.
Are most of your friends from the music world?
Actually, my closets friends are very far removed from the music world. I live and breathe music, so when I’m socializing for the pleasure of it I try to surround myself with people who let me put “Clint the composer” aside.
What do you like to talk about, say over drinks or dinner, if not music and the arts?
I like to talk about the person I’m speaking with. Everyone has a tale to tell and I am partial to hearing it. Getting to know someone intimately is one of the hardest things to perform. If you cannot make close connections with people, how can you write an honest character?
Do you watch TV?
I take a break from composing everyday at midnight to watch “The Simpsons.” I also love “The Golden Girls” and “Dexter”.
Other than that, I have recently set seven of the twelve “Live Oak, with Moss” poems from the “Calamus” section of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” Four were commissioned by bass-baritone Tim Hill and will be recorded and released in 2011. I hope to one day complete the entire “Live Oak, with Moss” sequence.
Do you like to cook?
I love to cook and my specialty is vegetarian lasagna.
Who was your most influential teacher and why?
I credit David Del Tredici for taking my music to the next level. We spent two years cultivating my passion for composing tonal music. He not only taught me technique, but to believe in my talent and instincts as well.