Around the World in 8 Days with composer Stefan Defilet

This July as part of SoundStorm’s 20th anniversary, the BIC will play host to almost 300 young musicians performing a specially commissioned score, Around the World in 8 Days. As the rehearsals take place across the BCP area, we met with the composer and Hub partner, Stefan to talk all things ATW8D!

Hello and thanks for joining us today – tell us a bit about your musical journey and how you know SoundStorm?

Thanks for having me. I first picked up the violin, age 6, whilst living in Switzerland where I had a bit of an obsession with Isabelle van Keulen playing Mozart’s Violin Concerto in G Major! I moved to Bournemouth aged 12, attending Bournemouth School, was a member of Dorset Youth Orchestra (now DYSO who’ll be performing at the BIC) and led both Bournemouth Youth Orchestra and DYO, which included the opportunity to experience some amazing tours including Ireland and Canada.

I graduated from Trinity College of Music in 2000 and on finishing, had the chance to tour the world for 3 and a half years with a show. But reached something of a saturation point with ‘classical’ music and started looking elsewhere for inspiration, which leads me to where I am today. I now play across lots of genres and feel lucky to have a career that allows my eclectic tastes. I first got involved with SoundStorm in 2019, having been asked to perform as part of their lovely Zoo Tales tour. Soon afterwards, I met with the then manager Michael Armstrong, and we started chatting about new projects and the upcoming 20th birthday.

You’ve written the score for the Hub’s 20th anniversary centrepiece event ‘Around the World in 8 Days’. What was the inspiration behind such an epic undertaking?

I had always thought it would be great to write and develop a world music show but simply couldn’t justify the time off. With the support of Michael and the Hub, and following the vote for Brexit, it seemed to make sense to draw young people’s attention to the world of music outside of our Islands, and put a positive spin on something that so many found challenging. Having also travelled around the world, visiting 16 countries across 5 continents, my own experience helped!

What was the worst part of writing an 80minute score?

25 hrs spent writing 3 minutes of Spain that I then went on to discard. But given what’s happened in the last two years, having a project like this during lockdown was a gift!

Why only 8 Days and not 80 like the novel?

Well, scale to be honest and it makes it doable in one evening (80 days would last weeks!) and suffice to say, 8 days kept it within budget!

What can the students taking part expect from the evening?

Taking part in any mass ensemble event is thrilling enough, but I hope the score and the extra features with our guest musicians will make the event thrilling for those both on and off the stage.

What are you most looking forward to?

To make memories for the young people involved: To this day I remember the amazing opportunities and performances I had with DYO, and that’s the sort of memory I want to make.

Thanks for your time Stefan and we’ll see you bright and early on the 12th July!

To get your tickets, click here 


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