Dorset Magazine, Arts & Culture Key Inspiration

Classical composer Tamara Konstantin, who grew up in Georgia, now lives in Dorset where she is inspired by the beauty of her surroundings or as long as she can remember, music has been a part of Tamara Konstantin’s life. So she is thrilled that, after a classical upbringing, and a career deviation, she is rediscovering her first love in a completely new light, as a composer. Growing up in Tbilisi, Georgia, she remembers ‘tinkling’ on the piano from a young age, before being taken to a music teacher by her non-musical parents and swiftly being offered a place at an elite music school for gifted children.

Tamara, who now lives in Weymouth, went on to graduate at the Tbilisi Music Academy and performed several solo recitals and concerts accompanied by The Georgian State Symphony Orchestra. “I definitely developed this love and passion for music,” she says. “And I got this discipline – if you don’t work, you don’t achieve.” However, Tamara decided, at the age of 19, it was time for something else. “I gave up as a professional,” she says. “I played for some charity things and for friends and family. It became more like a hobby and entertaining, rather than a chore. It just gave me more opportunity to see what was outside music. There’s a different life. But music was always there for me.” Tamara went on to study linguistics at Tbilisi University, before landing a job as a TV political commentator – the first female in Georgia to take up the role.

She first came to England around 30 years ago, after marrying her first husband, who introduced her to a career in the oil industry. Tamara went on to become vice president of a public listed oil and gas exploration company. “But music was always there in the background,” she shrugs.

Tamara’s first marriage broke down, and when she met her second husband, Derek, music returned to the forefront of her life. “He was enormously supportive of my music,’ she says. But it was almost by accident that Tamara’s composing career took off around seven years ago, after the couple went to a concert of contemporary music that Tamara ‘It’s absolute sin to say that writing music is a job. I think it’s God’s blessing’ did not particularly enjoy. “I said, as a joke, even I could do better than this’,” she says. “He said ‘go on, try’. When I tried it I thought ‘ love it’. I wrote my first proper sonata. I don’t think about the structure, it just comes. Once I start, the melody comes. “I don’t have huge pieces because I don’t want to bore the audience. I tried to write with the melody, harmonies – melodic tunes that people could remember. “I never had any idea that I could write. I wish I knew a bit earlier, because it’s something I enjoy so much that this is something I regret that I didn’t have an opportunity to discover it.

Having adopted England as her home, Tamara is inspired by her love of Dorset, composing several pieces named after local landmarks, including Poundbury, Chesil Beach, Abbotsbury Gardens and Purbeck. “I probably love England more than English people,” she smiles. “I adore England. It’s a proper country. You feel safe. You work, you achieve. You do something, you have results. When you see what is outside of England and have a taste of it, you’re so grateful. I’m very lucky that I’m overlooking the sea. Dorset is amazing, it’s beautiful.”

Having discovered a passion for composing, Tamara, whose music is played regularly on Classic FM, has now released two CDs with music label giant Naxos and is currently working on her third. “I’m not claiming to be Beethoven or Bach, I just write for people to enjoy music, she says. “I just want people to remember melodies and enjoy them. I just wanted to do something creative and fulfilling and enjoyable. “It’s absolute sin to say that writing music is a job. I think it’s God’s blessing. I’m in a very exciting period for myself. At last, I’m doing something which is so close to my heart and it gives me huge pleasure.”

This article is from Dorset Magazine, November 2019 | Living | 137