Ebeneezer Scrooge and composer Harrison Birtwistle may not be the most obvious of artistic bedfellows.

Without the latter, however, one suspects Nikola Kodjabashia would not have been able to make the Citizens Theatre's seasonal production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol as adapted by Neil Bartlett sound like it does when it opens this weekend.

It was Birtwistle, after all, who effectively taught Kodjabashia his musical chops when the Macedonian composer studied under the former musical director of the National Theatre in London before giving him his first theatre gig on Sir Peter Hall's production of The Bacchai.

Since then, Kodjabashia has worked all over the world, and has forged a particularly fruitful working relationship with the Citz's artistic director Dominic Hill, who will oversee A Christmas Carol. This follows on from Hill's acclaimed productions of Crime And Punishment, which saw Chris Hannan adapt Dostoyevsky's epic novel for the stage, as well as the pair's recent collaboration on an equally lauded Hamlet.

Kodjabashia's music was integral to both shows. Where Crime And Punishment looked to east European chorales, Hamlet seemed to channel the ghosts in the machines of the BBC Radiophonic workshop. Crucially, both productions saw their ensemble casts sing and play an array of instruments that looked as though they had been rescued from a skip. The subsequent soundscapes became each show's dramatic pulse.

"Everything is about the storytelling," Kodjabashia says. "Sometimes you start from a musical place and then you try to make it become a scene, and sometimes you start with a scene and try and make it work musically. I have been writing music for theatre for more than 20 years, and it is important to understand how the medium works, because it is about the literature, but sometimes it is more about the space and the movement.

"Theatre is a time-based thing as well, and performing the music live adds to it enormously. I use my comfort zone of the time as my canvas, so that is the game I am trying to play. We often go from something very concrete, and then add a few brushes of abstraction there, but the focus has to remain on the story."

For A Christmas Carol, Kodjabashia was surprised at how familiar he was with the traditional carols that form the play's musical backbone.

"When I moved to the UK 17 years ago," he says, "I did not know about them then, but when they sent me the score for the play, I thought, 'I know that'. Some of them are just amazing tunes, and you just need to treat them with respect, but I am trying to simplify them, not just for the sake of it, but to make them part of the story.

"Sometimes they are harmonised, sometimes they are complemented with instruments, and sometimes they are variations of the originals, but again, that depends on how they serve the story."

One of them, Kodjabashia says, sounds like a piece of choral funeral music. Another is a dance-based Mediterranean piece. Such a variety of styles, however, "are glimpses. I'm talking about spices rather than big pieces of meat."

From a musical family - his father is a composer and expert on Byzantine music, his mother a music teacher - Kodjabashia studied music in Bucharest before moving to the UK 17 years ago. He was a fan of Birtwistle's before studying under him at King's College, London.

"Harry was a hero of mine already," Kodjabashia says, "so I was very lucky. He said he could not teach me how to compose, but he could show me the tools he uses to make his work, and I could do as I pleased with them."

Kodjabashia first worked with Hill on The Three Musketeers and the Princess Of Spain, Chris Hannan's ribald reimagining of Alexandre Dumas' 17th century swordsmen, which was first seen at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in a co-production with the Coventry-based Belgrade Theatre. It was here the pair first began to develop a style that has resulted in some of the most thrilling moments seen and heard on Scotland's stages in recent times.

"There are two very important things you need to know about how Dominic and I work," says Kodjabashia. "We both very strongly believe theatre today is about the experience.

" You want to show how the storytelling is made. That is why we are very open in our staging. You want to see the organs inside the body. We create the mysteries by revealing what they are, and that is very exciting for me. One of the tricks we use is we are constantly low-tech. So all the hi-tech software that is available, and perhaps used too much, we say no to. We would like everything to be created as much as possible by human beings."

Beyond his theatre work, Kodjabashia has recorded four albums. Much of this work is inspired by the writings of Heiner Muller, James Joyce and William Gibson.

"The words are not there," says Kodjabashia. "but I try to take some of the shapes and elements of them and try and convert them into music.

"I think it is important to give the audience a chance to see where my journey started from, and it can mean whatever they want it to. It is good to give yourself a structure, because only then can you be free. The best free jazz, for instance, is the most organised."

While Kodjabashia has been acclaimed in the contemporary music world, there is also a sense his work's inherent playfulness does not quite fit in with it.

"The contemporary music establishment can be very serious," he says, "and is a mystery to me, but I like to have fun. I am recycling all the time, not just my work, but my entire cultural baggage, and that is what we all are. So if Crime And Punishment was neo-Russian avant-gardism or whatever, and Hamlet was about exploring European modernism of the 1950s and 1960s, then A Christmas Carol is probably something like a Dada opera with carols, gags and pantomime."

Again, openness is everything.

"I don't like mystification," says Kodjabashia, "but here in the theatre, we create God every night."

A Christmas Carol, Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Saturday to January 3, 2015. www.citz.co.uk