1883 Magazine
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The great grand-daughter of William Foyle – the founder of the world renowned London bookstore bearing his name – Serena Foyle has inherited her “family vision” to create breathtaking shows combining music with fireworks. Well aware of the transformative effects of sound and its power of enhancing what we see, Serena has brought the concept of experiencing fireworks to a whole new level where audio and visual become one. Passionate about music since childhood, Serena studied Classical music at Edinburgh University and subsequently at the London School of Sound, which led her to designing music for both film and fireworks. With music ranging from Classical, to pop, jazz, blues and dance, each fireworks display is tailored to meet the needs of her clients; careful and scrupulous, Serena takes into account every aspect of the type of audience and location presented to her to make the experience unforgettable.

1883 caught up with Serena Foyle; here’s what she told us.

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As a first question, can you briefly introduce yourself and your work to our readers?

Having always been fascinated with the power of sound and how it enhances what we see, I find creating music for fireworks display the ultimate opportunity for this. The music design is the beginning of creating all pyromusicals and starting with a picture of just a black night sky as your blank canvas, allows the mind to take the music on an infinite number of possible journeys.

How did the idea of combining music and fireworks design come about?

Through the experience of having my own 21st where the fireworks display was to be the main feature of the evening. I knew quickly what music I wanted to use but as it seems that within fireworks companies, music is not given the same importance as the visuals, the music edit done by the fireworks company was not created with musical instinct and would have resulted in a “broken” and “interrupted” display. I wanted to capture the audiences attention entirely, using the power of the musical compilation to direct this. 

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We would like to know more about your “creative process”; how do you approach a new display? And where do you get your inspiration from?

The most important thing for me is to go to the location of where the display will be. I find my mind can quickly begin to picture what music will suit and enhance the atmosphere of the place. I also like to ideally have met the client, to either make a judgement on what styles of music will be right for their display. Each display is different and the music directs what difference this will be.

I get my inspiration from a lot of different music. It is hard to say what music, as there isn’t much I don’t like!

What display are you most proud of?

I recently created a display with only 5 days notice! There were challenges in finding a venue at such short notice and to create a display of its budget and scale. The quality however was no different from what I would hope for, despite the lack of time to create it! This is mainly because of the true passion both Andrew Wiggans of Jubilee Fireworks, (who I collaborate with) and I share in what we do. We hardly slept for those few days, to make it possible!

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If you had to name a few musicians that inspire you, who would these be?

Bjork, Pink Floyd, Sigur Ros, Bill Evans, Radiohead, Ulrich Schnauss, But I also love a lot of Classical music, including Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Bach, Stravinsky, Finzi and Dance music artists including, Seba, S.P.Y, BCee, Mistabishi, Deadmau5 etc. The list goes on! 

And if you could collaborate with a creative – either a musician or a designer – who would it be?

Some of the above, to create a live collaborative concert, all set to fireworks! 

As a last question, what’s next on your agenda? What projects are you currently working on?

Andrew of Jubilee Fireworks and I are working on the design for the position as the UK team in the Philippines pyromusical competition, which is early next year.

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Further information on Serena Foyle can be found here

Check out a film about one of Serena’s latest show at Mellerstain here

 

Words by Jacopo Nuvolari 

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