Name: Marianne Baudouin Lie
Current Release: Atlantis, Utopia & Ulvedrømmer on Particular Recordings
When did you start composing - and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I studied the cello, chamber music and composition in Trondheim, Oslo, Gothenburg and London. I never composed much but I use more and more improvisations and also work a lot with composers on new works.
How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
As most classical musicians, I was trained in the old conservatoire way, which does not necessarily have the greatest focus on originality, but more on the style and norms of the different styles of music and perfecting your instrumental skills. At the end of my studies I started going into both baroque playing and contemporary music, and with my group Alpaca Ensemble we initiated working with saxophonist and composer Eirik Hegdal. This crossover project was the start of a 20-year-long cooperation, and it led us to work with many more contemporary composers and artists. Playing with the Trondheim Jazz orchestra in different settings, and going through an artistic research fellowship creating the opportunity to challenge myself and go in depth to newly-written music, has formed me as a musician. I decided to “do the things I am afraid of” – which amongst other things has led me to make this double CD, with cello and voice.
Tell us about your studio/work space, please. What were criteria when setting it up and how does this environment influence the creative process? How important, relatively speaking, are factors like mood, ergonomics, haptics and technology for you?
I have had the opportunity to use an office space at the NTNU institute of music since 2013, which has been a room for creativity, thinking, teaching and performing. In the Covid-19 situation I have worked from home, and I am trying to create the same room and ambience there but it has been difficult. Now I’m renting a space in an Artistic Collective, and I think this will be an inspiring setting and a place to meet other artists!
Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I am a mother of three, juggling family life with a career as a creative performer is not always easy. Luckily, I also have a husband who is more stable, but of course getting a puppy also make life hectic. I appreciate the chaos of family life, it inspires me in different ways and gives a break from constantly thinking about work. I am quite efficient when I have time to myself during the day or in evenings, and I think it’s good to experience all aspects of life when you are in artistic work; where life creates inspiration for art, and art gives you a breathing space from the chaos of normality.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
The ideal state would be when I am in a creative community with other artists and thinkers, but in a place where I can also take time on my own. But life doesn’t always give room for this, so I try to find room and space for creative processes in-between. I’m very good at working when I’m on tour for example.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
I use some technology, but it is not the main part of my artistic expression. I like the variation in expression and sound I can get through using technology – also how I can create bigger musical rooms when using a loop pedal for example. But I mostly use it in cooperation with composers.
And I always dread if something doesn’t work! Or if there is a vital part you forget to bring…. With the cello it’s easier, just bring the instrument and a bow and it’ll work.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives, including the artists performing your work?
I am a person who thrives when working in creative collectives. Intersubjectivity gives me inspiration, and when developing ideas, I love to discus with others. I also try to constantly learn from the people I work with, and creating something together can be so much fun! I think I have never laughed as much in a creative process as when creating our One Woman Musical Ulvedrømmer together with Lene Grenager.
How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
I’ve been improvising more and more. I see it as a sort of real-time composition, where you have to think about form and musical aspects and sound. I think of music as textures and timbres when shaping an improvisation. One of the big differences is that you have to take all decisions in the moment. When you compose, you have time to make your choices.
Time is a variable only seldom discussed within the context of contemporary composition. Can you tell me a bit about your perspective on time in relation to a composition and what role it plays in your work?
Time as a variable can be looked on as the time it takes from an idea appearing till the rehearsal space and into the performance. I often have a long-term relation to the creation of a work, because I know this can take a lot of time, and also that the time gives room to let something develop. I also think a lot about time as I use it in the music. When creating a presence on stage, it can feel like you lose the feeling of time moving, and it’s like a stretchable material in which you can create magic. That kind of time is crucial for music and performance.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
I am intrigued by the emotional impact that music has on listeners, and how you can trigger audience responses. Creating an embodied feeling of sense and meaning. I worked with this in my PhD – you can read and listen more on www.makingsense.no
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
As an artist working with today’s music, I feel I have the task of helping to showcase composers and works which should be recognized. I also work a lot with female composers which we also need to show off! I have a new project together with composer Bente Leiknes Thorsen, “A Biography of an Amazing Woman” where we look at several female artists who never got any recognition.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
I think music is a different way of communicating with each other, a way which goes beyond words. It is something most people need it in their lives; the feeling of flow and the kick it gives me to perform music creates sense in my life. Hopefully I can touch someone else with my passion for contemporary music existing off the main track.