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Lydia Ashton
www.lydiaashton.comLydia Ashton

How did composing start for you?

I started making up songs when I was a little kid. I kept writing songs through my childhood and teenage years. I wrote my first instrumental piece when I was 18, but it took another few years before I knew I wanted to be a composer.

What got you interested?

I always loved music, and I have always had music bouncing around in my head. It just made sense to start writing the music down on paper.

Do you have any formal training?

Yes. I studied violin and piano growing up. I attended a fine arts high school in Sweden where I continued the studies on those instruments in addition to viola, and studied subjects such as music theory, sight singing, ear training, and music history. I also have a Bachelors in Music Composition Technology.

What is your instrument of choice?

Piano, as that is the instrument I use daily to compose.

What do you feel are your strengths as a composer?

I treasure my background in classical music, as well as the years I spent playing Swedish folk music. I often draw from what I learned during those years when composing. I also find writing for strings something that comes natural as I’ve played violin and viola most of my life. I would say my greatest strengths as a composer are writing orchestral music as well as music for piano and strings. I have started branching out to other genres as well, and enjoy continuously learning and growing as a composer.

What is your one desert island plugin or sample library?

Oh, that is a hard one… Currently it would probably be Emotional Piano. Love the gentle sound it is able to produce. Another one worth mentioning is Omnisphere. I don’t think you can ever get done exploring all the possible sounds in Omnisphere.

What keeps you inspired, musically?

I try to continuously grow and learn more. I read books about music, listen to different genres (even though I tend to gravitate toward film scores and classical), and make sure I surround myself with people who themselves love music as much as I do. All of these things help inspire me. I also draw from my emotions a lot when I write. I usually start my pieces by improvising at the keyboard. If I don’t have a specific piece I need to work on I sit down and play whatever I am feeling at the moment, anger, happiness, sorrow etc, and go from there. And, of course, life itself inspires me.

What are some of your greatest achievements as a composer?

There are a couple of achievements that I am pretty excited about. One is that the year before I moved to the US a school in Sweden performed a one hour musical I had written. That was a great experience, and that was what helped me realize I wanted to pursue composing. Another awesome experience was when the Signature Symphony in Tulsa, OK, performed a piece I had written. It was performed with full orchestra and choir + soprano soloist. While it is amazing what one can do with technology nowadays, nothing beats hearing ones music performed live by an orchestra. Another achievement I want to mention is that back in 2010 I landed the main title theme for the Nate Berkus show together with David John, a co-writer. That was the first time I heard my music in TV, and that was pretty cool!

What is your guilty pleasure (musical or non-musical!)

Binge-watching TV. Nathan (my husband) and I will find a TV show we like and finish a season in a week or so. Oh, and ice cream. If I could live on ice cream alone I would. Never mind… I don’t feel guilty about the ice cream.

How Composer Catalog has helped your workflow (just a quick sentence or two)?

Composer Catalog has helped me become more organized. It is great to have all that info about my music in one place.