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Emika (real name Ema Jolly) has carved an influential niche in dance music, releasing albums on impossibly cool labels like Ninja Tune and enjoying international recognition as a superstar DJ.
But on the downlow, she also happens to be a classical music fan and a ‘proper’ composer – and she’s now written and recorded an entire symphony.
The album is four years in the making, inspired by “Dem Worlds” from Emika’s second album, DVA, where she collaborated with soprano vocalist Michaela Šrůmová from the Prague Metropolitan Orchestra. Emika was instantly taken with her, and asked if she could compose new music for Šrůmová, calling the singer her “very first muse.”
The project, which was the subject of a kickstarter campaign, saw Emika return to her classical-training roots, and started composing, with her electronic music and sound design experience in mind.
This time collaborating with Šrůmová and the Prague Metropolitan Orchestra itself, Emika changed the traditional seating plan, moving the low-end instruments to the centre (to mimic the feeling of bass in electronic music), and separated the violins to create a wider stereo feeling. Her symphony also calls for double the bass players of a traditional orchestra.
“I still feel that the image accompanying classical music is one of the upper class,” says Emika. “Golden dresses, major labels and rich sponsors. The way classical music is presented on stage and its entire position within global music culture has very little connection with its creators.”