Interview with Adrianna Svitak
Conducted and condensed by Aaron Aslin
Q. Can you give a little bit of background on where you got the idea to merge poetry and music?
A. The idea is an original one. I have different interests and thought, “Why not merge them on stage and make it much more of a tangible experience for the audience?” I was also inspired by this woman at Ciudad de Las Ideas in 2011. Her name is Natasha Tsakos and she’s a multi-media performance artist, interacting with 3D projections live on stage. So I was thinking about that as well and I wanted to branch into that, basically just merging all my artistic interests into one conglomerate art form. So I started with art and music together. When I performed at Ciudad de Las Ideas in 2010, I just compiled a bunch of photographs I found online and matched them up with music I was playing. Then I gradually decided to incorporate poetry as well.
Q. Have you taken it to the third level and merged all three?
A. I had this project I was working on for the Girls Impact the World Film Festival. Our group made it to the finalists round! I wrote a set of poems to be spoken, while a film played in the background, complete with an original violin composition/improvisation.
Q. For the piece you did for TEDxOrangeCoast how did you go about selecting the music for the poem to correspond with it?
A. First, I picked the music; then, I wrote the poems based on the music. It was centered around a forest and nature theme because the piece’s title was Forest Murmurs. So I wrote a lot of poems that had to do with nature. Then I added in background sound effects. There were birds and forest noises.
Q. since you live in New York City, where did you find your inspiration to write about the forest?
A. I like going outside in woodsy areas to write poetry. In New York, it’s difficult because the city is composed of skyscrapers. When I first started writing poems, I used to go into my backyard and contemplate the trees and leaves and life around me. When I was writing poems for TEDx, I was listening to the Lizst piece over and over and trying to conjure up images of the forest in my head.
Q. Where do you see this taking you in terms of a self-created career?
A. I definitely like to incorporate more forms of art onstage. I think working with 3D projects would be awesome, as well. Working with 3D films and projecting them so they are more alive, and interacting with them onstage while playing music. I’d love to incorporate choreography, as well. I am also playing around with lights and words and creating a surrealist dreamlike performance.
Q. Have you ever thought about live composition to poetry or improve music to poetry?
A. I am working on a poetry book right now. It is a set of haikus with a CD of various compositions. You listen to a piece of music and read the poems simultaneously. The book also has corresponding artwork inside.
Q. At the TEDxOrangeCoast event who was your favorite speaker?
I really liked Ken Arkind. I watched it a lot on YouTube. I think because he stuffs so much raw emotion into each word and I thought that was really powerful.
Q. When you were listening to him did music come to mind?
I feel like his words were music already. They provided all that was necessary. All the emotions behind it and the feelings, felt like music.