Who is Clifford Borg in the eyes of Clifford Borg?
Clifford Borg is a person who’s in love with nature and music. These are the main elements in his life, and are the main source of inspiration when he’s engaged in his piano compositions.
Can you recall your first encounter with a musical instrument?
I had been exposed to music from an early age because my father was a musician as well. To be honest, I wanted to learn the drums, but my father insisted that I should learn the piano because it offers more opportunities, so I followed his advice. In fact, I do have a vague memory of when I started to play the piano, but I was only five years old.
Above: Concert at Saint Pancras Church in London, Aug 2016
There’s a great leap between playing in a rehearsal space and playing for an audience. How has your relationship with stage presence developed over the years?
Since we had a family restaurant, myself, my sisters and my father played everyday for the customers, so this had helped me create a good basis to develop my relationship with the stage. I feel that between playing for myself and playing in a rehearsal space, there’s no difference. However, when on stage, performing for the public is always a unique experience, and on different occasions, I play my piano compositions differently. The energy which the audience transmits also manifests itself in the way that I play.
You’ve performed in a variety of countries across continents. What has so far been your most memorable performance, and where do you aim to play next?
I’ve played in Europe, mostly in the main cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Amsterdam and Brussels, and I’m planning on playing in other major cities. The only concert which I had outside of Europe was in El Gouna in Egypt. Last year, I joined an association of pianists called the Enlightened Piano Radio. This association organises concerts mainly in the USA, and I therefore won’t be excluding an American performance one day.
Above: Concert at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Feb 2016
Your compositions have been influenced by artists such as Yann Tierson and Ludovico Einaudi. Who or what are your other inspirations?
These artists are just a few in my list of inspirations. Yann Tierson happened to write the music for the movie Amelie, however, the whole movie has been an inspiration, not just the music. One of my compositions, Simplicity – from the album Origin – had been inspired by this movie.
On the other hand, Ludovico Einaudi has been an inspiration for creating piano pieces with minimalism as the main element. But the main inspiration is life experience, and the kind of music you listen to will have an impact on your compositions. However, I always tend to use the music I listen to as guidance. As a composer, I want to have my own identity and I work hard on achieving this goal.
Above: Concert at Theatre O-TonArt in Berlin, May 2016
From your repertoire, is there any one particular piece that speaks to you most?
All my compositions are like my children, because you give birth to them and they come to life, especially when you put them on a CD. However, some compositions will be more close to heart than others. From my first album, Longing Dawn and Wings are my favourite. From my second album Origin, I’d say that I have several, including Emergence, Worth Waiting, Simplicity, Secret Energy and Complete. From my third album, which is out now, I have some favourites too, including Complete (Radio Edit) and Sunday (Radio Edit).
How does a musician/composer contribute towards society? What is the role of the musician and composer in the grander scheme of things?
Musicians and composers are those people who are there to make people feel emotions with the music that’s being created and played. Life is boring and less colourful without music, and musicians and composers add spice and seasoning to your dish of life. Apart from giving meaning to life, the use of music combined with lyrics and audiovisuals can deliver a message, and this gives a role to musicians and composers because they can voice an opinion. For instance, my latest collaboration with STJ – an Austrian DJ – had an educational message. We created a song called Eco-Ballad, which was dedicated to our nature.
Above: Cover Picture of Clifford’s latest release: Cross-Origin
Visit www.cliffordborg.com for further reading.