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“I steal people’s souls”, says Cassandra Miller. The 47-year old Canadian composer sits in her light-filled living room at the top of a London block of flats, looking tranquil and as unlike a master of the dark arts as it is possible to imagine.

Miller’s intimate and engaging compositions take as their starting point existing melodies, which she variously deconstructs, loops, magnifies and utterly transforms. The act of transcription is an inherently creative process in her hands, and the physicality of a performance – ornaments, notes, pauses, breaths and even sighs – is a vital part of what she transcribes.

“When I start with source material, I’m interested in the entirety of somebody’s performance,” Miller says. “I’m sort of stealing part of their humanity. It’s like making a portrait of somebody.”

In the past decade, Miller’s profile has risen rapidly. Her works have been performed in concert hall from New York to Warsaw and Oslo to Barcelona; last year’s Aldeburgh festival premiered her “quietly captivating” La Donna, and her 2015 Duet for Cello and Orchestra was named one of the Guardian’s Best of the 21st century – “A strange but profoundly haunting piece,” wrote Andrew Clements. Like most of her compositions, it is a piece of expansive and luminous beauty whose apparent simplicity belies its complexities… »