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William Philipson


William Philipson is a screen composer based in Wellington, New Zealand, you can find more of his work at:

  • Spotify
  • Apple Music
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube

Creating classical music collaborations across space in a post-COVID world. 

Many people primarily define music-making as collaborations, collaborations in a band, or across sections in a concert hall. Sparrow was created across the internet, and then reconstructed and put together into a final piece. 


All of the string playing for Sparrow was recorded remotely by Marta Z in Southern California, while the music video was filmed in Lithuania, before being coloured here in New Zealand. 


The process of collaborating with remote musicians is a process of construction and reconstruction. I write something for them to play, they take what I have written and then they reconstruct it and the recording I am sent back is something new; it's alive, and always different than I imagined. 


With the music video, we took a similar approach. I am primarily a film composer, which means I am almost always working with writing music to a film that has already been filmed and edited together. Every piece of music I write for a film is based on my personal emotional reactions to the film. With music videos, it is the opposite approach. Lithuanian filmmaker Dominykas B. Ivanauskis took my music and used it as inspiration to build a film around it. The film is based on his personal reaction to my music. 


Being a musician during COVID is an interesting experience, with not being able to attend concerts and performances over Lockdown, many musicians were unsure on how to continue. But as a society, we were still devouring music through streaming, films, video games all in prerecorded forms. But while COVID made literal travel to other countries impossible, it brought different nations together closer online. For the first time, we are seeing that if you want to write music for films you don't need to live in Los Angeles-- you can live anywhere. I believe this new COVID culture is creating a shift in the way musicians look at the world and is influencing us all to make collaborations across time, space, and the lines between nations. 


That being said I am very glad we are starting to return to concert halls and cinemas. 

Night of Ideas New Zealand is presented by the Embassy of France in New Zealand in partnership with Victoria University of Wellington, as part of La Nuit des idées, a worldwide initiative of the Institut français, Paris.

Participation of New Caledonian contributors is facilitated by the Delegation of New Caledonia to New Zealand.

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