Your Rituals of Heartlandwill be performed by the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra on Mother’s Day. What was the very first idea you had when planning this work?

To write a piano concerto, which I was not allowed to do… This piece was commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as part of the Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program. By the way, I cannot recommend this program enough: it’s fantastic! I wanted to use this project as a learning opportunity (as it is intended). At the same time, being a concert pianist myself, I wanted to use one of the strengths of my compositional practice – well-informed piano writing – as the driving force for the piece and its orchestration. As we were not allowed to write any concertos due to limited rehearsal time, I planned to write a piece with a featured piano part that would sit conveniently under the fingers while sounding genuine, bold, involved and at times virtuosic.

How did your childhood in Ukraine influence this music? What are your most vivid memories of that time?

I started working on the concept for this piece in the beginning of the winter of 2017. Having moved to Australia in 2012, that...