Composing “Rain” Step-by-Step

Often, when I finish a long piece, someone will ask “How long did it take to write?” or “How many hours did you put into it?” To be honest, I’d never really chronicled the process before. Also, as a composer, I’ve spent hours searching in vain for other composers’ thoughts on how to create aContinue reading “Composing “Rain” Step-by-Step”

Music That Evolves

Lots of things Evolve: history, landscapes, relationships, your entire life! Even the size, shape and character of the universe is constantly changing. It’s all a work in progress, with Mother Nature leaving nothing stationary. The music itself Evolves from chaos to beauty. Evolve chronicles the process, which is similar for all of the above, and more. Pick something you’re familiar with that is still evolving, and listen along for stages and turning points.

Classical Music’s Need for Speed

Is faster really better? Classical music performances are expected to be meticulous, impeccable and proficiently accurate. Artists hope to be called a “virtuso.”  All the thousands of notes must be delivered spot-on. So what then, distinguishes one soloist or ensemble from another performing the same timeless piece? Interpretation is what it’s called, but what are the boundaries of interpretation inContinue reading “Classical Music’s Need for Speed”

Do You Like the Lights On or Off?

Do You Want the Lights On, or Off? … when listening to classical music? Do you like to close your eyes, or watch what’s going on? There are, of course, pros and cons to both. Lights On: Watching a great performance can be like the olympics. Musicians don’t just sit or stand there. It’s aContinue reading “Do You Like the Lights On or Off?”

Who Are We Applauding, Anyway?

Who Are We Applauding, Anyway?Next time you attend a concert, and stand to applaud a great performance, ask yourself, “Who am I applauding?” Is it the talented performer, “with a skillset I’ll never have,” or the creative mind behind that “brilliant piece of music I wish I could’ve written?” Consciously or not, it’s probably both.Continue reading “Who Are We Applauding, Anyway?”

Tchaikovsky’s Last Word

Forget everything you think you know about Tchaikovsky’s demise. Let’s look at his final work: Symphony #6 “Pathetique.”The first movement begins much like the 5th, with a slow and contemplative low woodwind and bass theme. As it evolves through many wonderful melodies, it becomes sad and foreboding. He tries to put a happy face onContinue reading “Tchaikovsky’s Last Word”

Why Money Can’t Buy the Best Seats in the House

Obviously, the conductor has the the best acoustic position, at an orchestra concert. But, since maestros usually stand, let’s forget about that spot, for now. Anyone who’s played in an ensemble of any size, knows that the best seats are right there– inside the group. The very first time I played in a band asContinue reading “Why Money Can’t Buy the Best Seats in the House”

The Avoidance of Harmony

It’s no secret that contemporary composers tend to avoid standard musical traditions.  What composer wants to sound like some other composer, right?  There’s so much highly structured, traditional Western European repertoire out there already, it sometimes seems like everything’s “been done.” So, what does that leave for today’s modern composers in search of a niche? Continue reading “The Avoidance of Harmony”