My Life as a Composer

in New York City with composer Milton Babbitt, ca. 1984

I began composing music in my teens. Early on I was greatly influenced by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971). Later on I became intrigued by the music of Morton Feldman (1926-1987). This is evident in the way I chose to process blocks of sound in creating a musical landscape. Other composers that had definite bearing on my creative development included Roberto Gerhard (1996-1970), Luigi Dallapiccola (1904-1975), Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994), Henri Dutilleux (b. 1916), Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) and Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931). I particularly enjoy writing for large ensembles. Unfortunately, this limits the opportunities to obtain performances of my work.

Time and Prolation is the earliest work sampled here. It was composed in 1979, for trumpet solo, strings and percussion. The soloist blends in and out of the atmospheric textures created by the strings and percussion. The result is quite mysterious.

Listen to the first excerpt of Time and Prolation:
(RealAudio file)

Listen to the second excerpt of Time and Prolation:
(RealAudio file)

Surfaces , for large orchestra, was composed in 1980. It is another example of my fascination with block sonorities. The solo instruments weave in and out of the background texture created by the orchestra, until they finally emerge as the dominant texture.

Listen to the first excerpt of Surfaces:
(RealAudio file)

Listen to the second excerpt of Surfaces:
(RealAudio file)

I composed Monumentum as a memorial tribute to Stravinsky, on the occasion of his centenary in 1982. It is for large orchestra. My goal was to recreate and recompose the essential elements of Stravinsky works which had influenced me, particularly Sacre du Printemps (1913), Symphony in Three Movements (1945) and Requiem Canticles (1964). The elements which I defined as the essence of Stravinsky included his ideosyncratic rhythms, harmonies and orchestrations. My result is a fusion of these influences into an original work which only hints at the work of the master.

Listen to the first excerpt of Monumentum:
(RealAudio file)

Listen to the second excerpt of Monumentum:
(RealAudio file)

Listen to the third excerpt of Monumentum:
(RealAudio file)

Listen to the fourth excerpt of Monumentum:
(RealAudio file)

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I rarely find any time to compose music these days. I do continue to play the piano, however. You can find MIDI and RealAudio files of my piano performances here.