Viale: 10 CDs in 5 years: your catalogue as a composer is impressive. How important are these recordings for you?
Seabourne: I would say that recordings have been an essential development in my musical life. This is for three reasons. Firstly, at this point in time living composers find it ever harder to break into concert hall programming (especially, I might add, those of us who do not follow fashion, or have powerful friends, or neatly fit the prescriptive categories of promoters). Recording offers at least the possibility of wider exposure, and to have a significant amount of material presented at once. Secondly, with today's pressures on performers there is rarely the time available that both they and the composer would wish. However, in a recording attention to detail, rigour and, ongoing analysis are mutually accepted as essential to the process, so the music is explored in huge (and often revealing) depth. To collaborate with musicians on my works in this way has been an enormous joy, education and privilege! Thirdly, being involved with recording has taught me more than anything else to listen acutely. My ear has improved beyond all measure! The microphone is the sternest judge, even cruelly so, but it is also a fantastic teacher and one from which all musicians, performing or composing, can always learn enormously. This knowledge feeds directly back into my composition; the experiences and insights helping to shape subsequent projects.
Viale: I suspect this is why you are working with Sheva Recording also as a producer. Which are the composers you are interested in promoting and why?
Seabourne: My work with Sheva is paradoxically both self-interested and totally altruistic. I must begin by expressing my infinite gratitude to Ermanno De Stefani, the founder of Sheva. He responded with such warmth and enthusiasm to the enquiry of a relatively unknown composer, and had the sustained belief to record my music. As time has progressed we have become good friends and now I assist him with Sheva, though it remains entirely his company. As a result, I have been lucky enough to be able to record my own music quite regularly - a luxury of which many composers could only dream. However, and with great sincerity, it is also my wish to help others. I know what it is like to be ignored and frustrated, and can sympathise readily with performers and composers who experience those very same feelings. Often "the system" rewards those with good PR machines, but who have little to say beyond cheap gimmicks and superficial modernity. Sheva wants to help composers whose work is personal and communicative, and also to collaborate with performing musicians who themselves merit greater exposure for their art. We can all benefit. Above all Sheva selects partners who see potential and share the joy of exploration. So now, directly to answer your question, I will start by saying that Sheva Contemporary has no particular stylistic axe to grind. It simply looks for composers who we feel deserve a window on the world, and especially those who are concerned with creating works of integrity, invention, communication and personality rather than following fashion or cultivating celebrity. Stylistically Sheva embraces a wide spectrum, though it must be said that we are distinctly less interested in the experimental avant-garde or the already over-represented "formulaic international modernism". Sheva also wishes to preserve its independence from institutional arts bodies, largely for those reasons.
Viale:  It is hardly true that a CD is a good financial investment, which is why most recording labels ask for a very large fee in advance.  Do you think this would be detrimental for a young composer without significant economic means?
Seabourne: This, in a nutshell, is Sheva's very reason for existing! The recording fees asked by many companies are completely prohibitive, and composers are hardly renowned for their wealth. Through mutually beneficial arrangements, Sheva aims to give both deserving composers and performers shared rewards for their art, and to do this for surprisingly little. Few CDs now come even close to making a profit, but producing a recording can bring a whole raft of artistic and promotional benefits and possibilities; not the least of these are simply having their work well rehearsed, and heard! To make this possible without financial ruin is our aim. I should perhaps add that Sheva does not see age as a particularly relevant factor in choosing our partners. Composers and performers mature at different ages and rates, and we are especially keen to avoid the habitual "conveyor belt" so beloved of the music industry that prematurely discards many fine voices.
Viale: What are your future projects as a composer and what are the plans of Sheva Contemporary?
Seabourne: For myself, a primary focus remains my ongoing solo piano series Steps, but I also hope to record some of my large-scale ensemble works, perhaps eventually even orchestral ones, too. Sheva Contemporary will continue to produce a carefully selected, probably quite small number of interesting projects, principally because we devote a relatively large amount of time to rehearsal, interaction and editing. Thus, to some extent one could say that Sheva is both commercial and (in the best sense) "amateur". Future projects include works by Robin Holloway and Rachmael Fischmann.

Viale: You travel a lot and your pieces are played all over the world. What are the challenges of being active in such a broad environment?

Seabourne: I am first and foremost a composer. This has very specific needs, the most significant of which are personal space and silence. These are not always compatible with making recordings, and not just because of the substantial time commitment involved. I do, though, see both strands of my life as mutually beneficial, so maintaining a balance is essential. For this reason, Sheva Contemporary is happy to evolve relatively slowly. In both composing and recording, "the interesting project" will always come first!