Alexandra Stréliski is one of the rare women composers in the neoclassical world. Growing up between Paris and Montreal, she made her debut with the 2010 album Pianoscope. In 2017, she composed the trailer of the acclaimed HBO series Big Little Lies (2017). She’s now ready to make her next artistic statement with the album Inscape, due out on Secret City Records. Alexandra is headed to Toronto on June 26 for an exclusive and intimate performance at Roy Thomson Hall.
We chatted with her this week.
SDTC: When and where do you feel most at ease?
AS: I feel most at ease when I play the piano, and nothing else exists in the world.
Who/what has had the greatest influence on your career?
Many people, but I would say Philip Glass, maybe. Because beside being a minimalist musician who says a lot with just a few chords, he was one of the first to have a sort a hybrid career between solo piano works and film music. That really inspired me.
What is your favourite piece to play? Least fave?
It really depends on the show. But I would say “Burnout Fugue.” It has this sort of therapeutical anger release thing in it.
Least fave: I won’t say. It’s a secret.
What drew you to the piano over other instruments?
My parents actually chose the instrument for me when I asked to play music as a kid. And I’m glad they did. It is such a complete instrument. It’s like the entire orchestra is right in front of you, and it has a magic feel to it that goes right to human hearts.
What dish always satisfies you?
RAMEN – AMEN.
What show has recently wowed you?
I just finished watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones. It’s disgusting and stressful the whole time, but man can they make a good TV experience.
What’s on your current reading list?
I’m reading some psychological books on what it means to be a mature adult in love.
Your go-to self-care?
I take these huge epsom salt baths after a stressful period or a big show. I also frequently go to the osteopath and acupuncturist and try to meditate once in a while.
What five things would you want if you were deserted on an island?
What’s a childhood memory that always brings a smile to your face?
Running around the house with my brother and sister so that we would be warm and then jump in the pool to cool off.
What life philosophy is currently helping to guide your journey?
Letting go of your ego, being grateful for what you have and having the courage to face your fears.
One skill you’d love to improve this year?
Being comfortable alone.
What’s a piece of career advice that has served you well?
Choose the people who surround you wisely.
What outfit makes you feel the most you?
A chic black vest. Or sweatpants.
What toy have you held onto since you were small?
I have this stuffed dog that used to be very symbolic for me as a kid.
What’s a subject that is currently holding your attention? An issue that you’re focused on?
Anything but Donald Trump.
When you compare yourself now to where you were at ten years ago, what’s a major change you can feel proud of?
I am very proud of having faced the fear of showing my music to the world and taking it to the stage.
Goal(s) for 2019?
Living it fully and feeling grateful for everything that I have.
What do you hope audiences take away from your upcoming performance?
I hope it gives them a break from their hectic lives and permits them to dream a little.