Interview with Professor Paul Barker
Professor and Course Leader of MA Music Theatre
Royal Central School of Speech & Drama
Paul Barker is a composer, pianist, director and author. He has worked extensively with singers as composer, MD and coach in opera, musicals and concerts across many genres and styles. He was Artistic Director of Modern Music Theatre Troupe (UK), and Optemus (Mexico), co-founder and first Chair of Opera and Music Theatre Forum. He has worked at RCSSD since 2005 where he is Professor of Music Theatre and course leader of MA Music Theatre.
保羅·巴克是一位作曲家、鋼琴家、導演和作家。作為作曲家的他與眾多歌手合作，在各種類型和唱法的歌劇、音樂劇和演唱會裡擔任音樂總監和指導。他還是英國現代音樂劇場劇團（Modern Music Theatre Troupe）及墨西哥歐特姆斯劇團（Optemus）的藝術總監，第一屆歌劇音樂劇場論壇（Opera and Music Theatre Forum）的聯合創始人及主席。從2005年起巴克教授在皇家中央戲劇與演講學院授課，並擔任音樂劇場課程的教授及碩士課程主任。
ART.ZIP: When and how did you start doing music theatre?
PB: I started singing and playing piano when I was 8 years old. I was born in Cambridge and I sang in a college choir there as a boy. My choirmaster gave piano lessons and I said to him I wanted piano lessons. My piano teacher was very unusual, after a while he said to me, ‘you are a bit bored with some of this music, shall we write our own?’ So he wrote me a piece of music then and there which I still have. So for me composing was very natural thing, it was just what I did from then on. I was lucky enough to have a piano teacher to inspire me to do that.
Later I went to Guildhall School of Music as a composer pianist, and then I went to Durham University for electronic music. My earliest work was for a contemporary dance company but I soon found myself interested in theatre as a whole. I became very excited about how drama and music were the same thing, different aspects of the same set of disciplines. So all my life I have worked in music and theatre professionally, as a composer, pianist, composer and conductor and lately as director too. I have discovered being a composer and a director for me is very much an expression of the same process. So now I run the MA Music Theatre here and I work as a composer with about 17 operas and music theatre works that have been performed all over the world. I have had the chance to write a few orchestral works, but music and theatre is where I do most of my work. Whenever I am commissioned to write a concert work for piano or string quartet, I prefer to write for concert theatre. Where the performers need to embody their performance theatrically, not depending upon sight reading. My theatre goes into my music world, just as my music goes into my theatre world. That’s how I think of music and theatre. They are the same.
之後我到了倫敦市政廳音樂學校（Guildhall School of Music）學習鋼琴作曲，再後來到了杜倫大學（Durham University）學習電子音樂。我最早期的作品是給一個當代舞蹈團寫的，但很快我就發現自己更喜歡作為整體來看待戲劇。我很激動地發現音樂和戲劇在本質上是一樣的，只是同樣規律的不同方面。所以我一生都在音樂和戲劇領域工作，無論是以作曲家、鋼琴家、指揮還是導演的身份。我發現作為作曲和導演都有著同樣的表達過程，因此在這裡教音樂劇場碩士課程的同時我還為十七個在各國表演的歌劇和音樂劇場作曲。我還曾為一些管弦樂團作曲，但音樂劇場是我做的最多的。對比為鋼琴或者弦樂四重奏譜曲，我更傾向為音樂會劇場（concert theatre）寫曲。表演者需要通過戲劇的形式來體現他們的表演，而不是依靠視覺閱讀的方式。我的戲劇世界走進音樂世界就如我的音樂世界邁入我的戲劇世界一樣，對我來說音樂和戲劇都是一樣的。