June 12, 2024
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Bonnie Milne: The Ethereal Composer of “Stolen Night Sky”

Bonnie Milne- The Ethereal Composer of Stolen Night Sky
Photo Courtesy: Bonnie Milne

By: John Glover (MBA)

Renowned classical pianist and composer Bonnie Milne has once again captivated audiences with her latest single, “Stolen Night Sky.” Known for her ability to translate profound emotions into stunning musical compositions, Milne offers a deeply personal and reflective piece that resonates with listeners. In a recent interview, she shared the inspirations, collaborations, and processes behind this evocative track.

Inspiration Behind “Stolen Night Sky”

Milne describes the genesis of “Stolen Night Sky” as an intense and dark theme of forte chords that repeatedly surfaced in her mind. This composition was born out of a challenging period in her life, serving as a necessary outlet for her emotions. “For a time in my life, I was able to sit under the beautiful night sky, with the stars sparkling like diamonds, shooting across the sky all reflected over the majestic lake,” Milne reminisces. This serene family experience, now a cherished memory, inspired the title and the ethereal quality of the piece. Milne hopes that others facing difficult times might find solace in her music.

Incorporating Percussion

For the first time in her career, Milne introduced percussion into her composition. She felt that the thematic forte chords and minor scales in “Stolen Night Sky” called out for percussion to amplify the intensity and drive the melody forward. Collaborating with percussionist Dave Hewitt, whom she admired for his intuitive playing, proved to be a perfect match. Hewitt’s ability to play with the emotions embedded in the piece elevated the final composition.

Collaborative Dynamics

The success of “Stolen Night Sky” is also attributed to the talented musicians who collaborated with Milne. Cellist Kevin Fox and violinist/fiddler Shane Guse, who have previously worked with Milne, once again brought her vision to life. Each musician’s ability to capture the mood and essence of the piece added layers of soulful, melodic, and harmonious sounds. Recording Engineer Nixon Boyd, along with Hewitt, played a crucial role in perfecting the percussion placement and dynamics.

Recording Experience at St. Paul’s Centre

The recording of “Stolen Night Sky” took place at St. Paul’s Centre, utilizing the exquisite Bosendorfer Piano donated by Michael Jones, a former local pianist of the Orillia area. Milne was moved by the beauty of the piano’s sound, which Boyd skillfully captured, using the church’s acoustics to enhance the recording. The Centre’s ambiance, with its beautiful stained glass windows and sought-after music venue acoustics, provided the perfect setting for both the recording and the accompanying video.

Visual and Musical Alignment

Directed by Anne Douris and shot by Mathew Waring, the video for “Stolen Night Sky” was meticulously planned to align with Milne’s musical vision. Recorded during the late afternoon into the evening, the video features complementary sky effects, stars, and differing colors, creating a visually immersive experience. Milne’s sparkly shoes and star-covered hands, along with Hewitt’s illuminated percussion, perfectly synchronized with the music.

Musical Evolution

Over the years, Milne’s approach to composing has evolved. Initially concerned with classical form and theory, she now focuses on expressing whatever needs to be conveyed through her music, regardless of traditional constraints. This freedom has allowed her to explore various instruments and sounds, reflecting her current artistic phase. Milne hopes to perform more in spaces where audiences appreciate instrumental and classical music.

Educational Impact

As a music educator, Milne incorporates her experiences into her teaching. She emphasizes the importance of allowing students to compose and perform their own work, which enhances engagement and fosters a lifelong love of music. Through Professional Development sessions, she encourages teachers to provide creative opportunities for students, demonstrating the value of the creative process.

Advice for Students

Milne advises aspiring classical musicians to explore layering different instruments and voices, experimenting with harmonies and dissonance. She encourages students to attend concerts, symphonies, and musical performances for inspiration and to consider music courses and degrees offered by Ontario’s excellent universities.

Future Projects

Looking ahead, Milne is working on a new piece titled “Eloquence,” collaborating with an ensemble of string players and hoping to include Hewitt’s percussion once again. She also composes on her keyboard, experimenting with different sounds and tempos. In her educator role, Milne collaborates with Music Care Room 217, supporting youth mental health and well-being through music.

Legacy and Influence

Reflecting on her career, Milne hopes her music will inspire a new appreciation for instrumental and classical sounds, evoking emotional journeys like no other genre. She aspires to encourage more girls to compose classical music, increasing the presence of female composers in the field.

Bonnie Milne’s journey is a testament to the power of music as a medium for emotional expression and connection. Her dedication to her craft and her impact on both the classical music world and music education continues to inspire and resonate with audiences worldwide.

Published by: Nelly Chavez

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