It’s an unusual and wonderful experience, being in a room full of creative minds with everyone pitching in to find interesting and promising sounds. Working with a musical ensemble as a group of composers has sparked and developed so many ideas, and the input and suggestions of the members of Berkeley ensemble immediately make these ideas much more concrete. For me, the biggest inspiration so far has been having the time to listen, to hear musical ideas developing, and hear the experiments. When an idea can take longer, and at what point it needs developing? How do other people in the room hear it? These questions are so difficult to judge when working on a piece away from an ensemble. It’s fantastic to play with the ideas so directly, almost like sculpting sound. After two sessions with the ensemble used for trying out ideas and experimenting, I am excited to start work on the final piece. There are a couple of ideas I keep thinking about now, probably because I now have a much better idea of what they’ll sound like. I’m also really looking forward to hearing everyone’s finished pieces in February, and get to hear the final fine-tuning.