Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch is an award-winning French pianist/ composer currently living in London. Spanning film score, bespoke composition and sound design, her work is connected both by its high quality and its evocative, meticulous craft - a common sensibility of elegant, instinctual composition. Signed by FatCat’s post-classical imprint 130701 following a well-received demo in 2014, Levienaise-Farrouch’s debut album, ‘Like Water Through the Sand’ is set for an Autumn 2015 release.
Born in Paris, Emilie moved to Bordeaux at a young age and studied classical piano throughout her childhood. She recalls Mozart or Beethoven blasting out of her mother’s hi-fi every Sunday; a love of French pop singers, most of whom were pianists; as well as Kate Bush. As a teenager, her first musical love was aged 13 when Bjork’s ‘Homogenic’ came out, which she listened to obsessively. Recognising a strong early interest in “making up music rather than just fixating over perfectly playing other people’s,” her first experiments in recording began as a teen, buying a basic soundcard for her computer and some cheap microphones.
Convinced of her vocation, in 2006 Emilie moved from sleepy Bordeaux to London to embark first on a BA in music at Westminster University, then a Masters degree in composition at Goldsmiths, studying new complexity and spectral composition, which “really put the accent on intellectual approaches to music”. Alongside these studies, Emilie worked for three years at online electronic store Bleep, gaining enlightening exposure to a vast range of weird and wonderful new music. New influences liike Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto, Richard Skelton, Andy Stott, LFO were added to existing ones in Bach, Sufjan Stevens, soundtracks by Clint Mansell and Carter Burwell. “Soundtracks felt like the type of instrumental music that relates the most to the style of music I enjoy making. I have no interest in writing or singing lyrics.”
At Westminster, Emilie started to make scores for a number of her friends enrolled on the University’s film course. She began to relish working on these and other collaborative projects, noting how “you achieve something that’s larger than the sum of its parts. And you need both, you need personal projects to grow your own voice and interests, but it’s also good to confront the results with new situations.”
Emilie swiftly began to establish herself within a network of film directors. Her soundtrack for 2010 short Fifty (dir. Ryan Vernava) earned a coveted BFI Future Film Award nomination, and considerable industry interest. The same year, her soundtrack for the short film Salt Grain (dir. Duska Zagorac) saw Emilie as the winner of Best International Contemporary Music Soundtrack at the Garden State Film Festival, New Jersey. Having scored her first feature-length film in 2012 (on American-Iranian director Caveh Zahedi’s The Sheik and I, a film subsequently banned for blasphemy, its director threatened with arrest and a fatwa), her CV now includes commissions for the V&A Museum (London), HBO short film Love NY, and for drama / documentaries on BBC Radio 4, The Guardian, Funny or Die. In 2013 she received the Emerging Excellence Award from the Musician Benevolent Fund, and in 2015 was commissioned to create a sound-walk for London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Entitled The Flaneur, this mix of field recording, poetry, strings and electronics was designed and timed to be experienced during a specific walk through the park. Her score to the film Tiger Orange (dir. Wade Gasque) was recently shown at the BFI, receiving its UK premiere in a sold out screening during BFI Flare.
With other interests in literature, philosophy, arts, science, yoga, cooking and growing orchids, Emilie says “my passion is music, this is what I spend most of my waking time doing. I’d love to be in a place where I can write material for large ensembles, and develop my abilities to translate what’s in my head into music. I like to be inspired by either narratives or concepts that resonate with me, but at the end of the day, and contrarily to a lot of music I studied at Goldsmiths, I want my output to be beautiful.”