LAVINIA MEIJER, ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED HARPISTS, RELEASES NEW ALBUM ON APRIL 1, 2022. FEATURING ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF WORKS BY THE LIKES OF RYUICHI SAKAMOTO, ÓLAFUR ARNALDS, AND ALEXANDRA STRELISKI.
Sony Classical is proud to announce the release of the brand-new album from LAVINIA MEIJER, a pioneering and exciting musician and composer, and one of the most important harpists of her generation. Four years in the making, Are You Still Somewhere?sees Meijer combine original compositions with her long stated dream of interpreting modern composers and musicians for harp. Works by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ólafur Arnalds, and Alexandra Streliski all feature, as do collaborations with Dutch pianist Pieter de Graaf and punk legend Iggy Pop.
Lavinia Meijer has always pushed boundaries. Born in South Korea and adopted by a Dutch Austrian couple aged 2, she was only 9 when she stated playing the harp. By 11, she’d already been admitted to the prestigious Utrecht Conservatory, and by 14 was playing with symphony orchestras. Known for her passion in broadening the possibilities of the harp – both in terms of sound and appeal – she’s garnered worldwide critical acclaim for her intelligent, inventive interpretations of both orchestral repertoire and more contemporary music, playing alongside the likes of Philip Glass and Ólafur Arnalds, and performing works by Radiohead in classical venues.
Over the years, she’s been experimenting with electronic music, jazz, theatrical music, and avant rock. It was these experiments that led her to the ideas behind Are You Still Somewhere?, and provided inspiration for her own compositions. “I miss certain elements in the existing repertoire of the harp,” says Meijer, “particularly with regards to bringing the instrument into the new century, making it an instrument of today and tomorrow.” Exploring different genres – pop and rock, dance and folk, jazz and electronica – led her to discover new elements and new sounds in the harp; to open up possibilities. “Really, it’s a way for me to connect myself to the world,” she says.
Her new compositions reflect this; that musical culture is connected to society, and the world we live in. Inspired by events, large and small, around her and in her own life, Are You Still Somewhere? concerns self-reflection and inner growth, topics that have come to the fore over the last couple of years. Family too; looking back, longing, and living with one’s regrets are raked over in ‘Mom & Dad’, a track that features spoken word poetry from Iggy Pop. Melancholic and sombre, it’s a deeply emotional piece; few works here conjure such raw feelings.
So too ‘Another Lonely Night’, one of Meijer’s own works that confronts the youth suicide epidemic in her native homeland, and the pressure felt by teenagers to conform and succeed. Based on mainly two chords, the music climbs up and up, a sonic visualization of climbing up inside a building all the way to the top. ‘Stay In The Dark’, a work by mysterious neoclassical pianist Lambert, is another work that hues towards the darker end of the spectrum. “He uses very subtle night sounds, making it seem you are captured in the dark,” Meijer explains. The use of ‘lost sounds’ from the last century, discovered in an archive in the Netherlands, add to the moody atmosphere and sense of the nocturnal.
Are You Still Somewhere? is a record that showcases Meijer’s evolution as an artist and composer, but one that also speaks to her past. Defiantly individual, it brings the full scope of her talent as a harpist to the fore, and marks out new possibilities with her instrument; she pushing boundaries further than ever. “I’ve played with DJs, with pop, rock artists, jazz, and world music; it’s all possible with just one harp,” she says. “I want to show that it’s not just part of ancient history, but it’s contemporary and will keep developing itself. Are You Still Somewhere? is my way to prove that.”