Transcendent music from an acoustic master
When I saw my first Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concert on television, I caught the bug. I wanted to make music the central focus of my life: to share music, to write music, to perform music. I realized that the language of music spoke to me, transported me, and helped me be a better person. I pursued music in the ways I could when I was a youngster, taking piano lessons, singing in choirs, and attending free concerts at the nearby university. But when I realized I could also write music, that was when I was hooked.
I went on to the University of Michigan, pursuing and achieving a Master of Music degree in composition, with piano as my minor. I struggled to understand the concepts of 12-tone music, alleatory music, and other trends of the times, but they felt so foreign to my own voice, the one I had developed as a child. Still, I wrote many works in these unknown languages and achieved a level of recognition for my efforts.
I knew I had to leave the Midwest and travel to New York, the city where those Young People’s Concerts took place: to experience Carnegie Hall, to attend the Metropolitan Opera. I was lucky; within days, I was on the phone with leading composers of the time (John Corigliano, Lee Hoiby) and was soon working for them as a music copyist. How good a music copyist I was could be debated, but the exposure to living, working composers was inspirational. Then, in a great act of hubris, I left some of my compositions, along with a cryptic note, at the Dakota Building for the man who was my musical life, Leonard Bernstein. Little did I know I would meet the Maestro in a few months, discuss my music and after years of my teaching music at the Harlem School of The Arts I would become his assistant. The years of our working together were a wonderland of famous people, outstanding musicians, and the sharing of compositions, often written to each other.
Upon the death of my mentor and friend, I remained attached to his legacy, but I also suffered from a deep sadness that propelled me gently back to my music, which he had so wonderfully supported.
My music by this time had returned to its simple origins. I began to produce collections of piano works that I performed and recorded. These works represent the most inner me: the person I really am. Bernstein told me this, but it took years for this simple lesson to sink in.
For a long time I was reluctant to share my music with any but my closest and dearest friends. It is very personal, and does not follow the trends that are regarded as “serious music” -- though the music is very serious. But after years of sharing carefully and reaching out to an increasingly appreciative world of listeners, I know that it is time to share my music with the rest of the world.
Many people have many things to say about my music, but the words I hear most often are healing... peaceful... transcendental... introspective... and that my music is in touch with the powers of nature. With our world in such turmoil, we look inside for our inner strength to guide us. I feel compelled to share my music with the world. There will be critics, but those who respond positively will be joining together to create an ever-widening circle of harmony.