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ILYSM chatted with Brooklyn-based composer-pianist Timo Andres about how to create a more fulfilled life and the importance of finding time to absorb the world around you.


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What is your favorite non classical album?

I don’t play favorites with anything so important as music, but two albums which have been on heavy rotation recently: “Miles Ahead” by Miles Davis and “Hejira” by Joni Mitchell. 

What is the most evocative memory you have with music?

I love it when a piece of music forms an attachment to a certain time or place. I have so many, but off the top of my head: listening to Joanna Newsom’s Yson the Staten Island ferry at night; driving through a snowstorm to visit friends in Connecticut, listening to Sibelius’s 6th symphony; landing at JFK on a brilliant morning after listening to all three and a half hours of Philip Glass’s Music In 12 Parts. Everyone knows this of course, but music can really enrich a travel experience.

 Favorite song as a child?

Beethoven’s violin concerto is the first music I can remember listening to on purpose, the music which made me want to learn how to operate the tape deck.

 Any novel recommendations?

Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled.

What is a recipe for something you love to make?

I make David Chang’s ginger-scallion noodles constantly. There are a million recipes online but you don’t need one; it’s impossible to fuck up and takes five minutes if you keep a container of the sauce on hand, which you should.

A little birdie told me you have a thing for bird watching. What got you into this? What is the most rare bird you've seen?

I grew up in the country so birds were always sort of in evidence; it seemed only respectful that I should learn their names. I’m not one of those serious birders who go out at 6 AM with a spotting scope and a life list, but I generally pack my binoculars when I travel. Warblers are my favorite—those tiny, colorful birds that never stop moving and are almost impossible to keep straight.

Any recommendations for a more fulfilled life?

If I’m feeling useless, making something—whether it’s a piece of music or a YouTube video or a small repair around the house or just “dinner”—always makes me feel better.

Brooklyn-based composer-pianist Timo Andreshas written major works for the Boston Symphony, Carnegie Hall, the Barbican, the Takács Quartet, the Concertgebouw, and elsewhere. He performs regularly with Gabriel Kahane, and has frequently appeared with Philip Glass, Becca Stevens, Nadia Sirota, the Kronos Quartet, John Adams, Ted Hearne, and others. As a pianist, Timo has performed at Lincoln Center, for the New York Philharmonic, the LA Phil, at Wigmore Hall, for San Francisco Performances, and at (le) Poisson Rouge. He inaugurated the Cincinnati Symphony’s “American Perspective” series with a curated program featuring Dance Heginbotham and a performance of Andres’s cello concerto, Upstate Obscura. Recent recordings include Sufjan Stevens “The Decalogue” and “I Still Play” for Nonesuch Records, where he is a label artist. Since the Covid-cancellation of his solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall in April 2020 and subsequent “playlist” performance on YouTube, his performance films have received widespread critical and popular acclaim. 

Follow Timo on instagram @timoandres

*Timo is wearing the ILYSM Tabi in Kelp, Pyro, and Nougat