involved in all kinds of neat and sloppy endeavors,
which could explain how I became, amongst other things,
a computer programmer, furniture designer, house and
piano rebuilder, businessman and website designer.
I've also been a salesman, handyman, soldier
and part time tennis pro, but tend to think of myself
simply as one who enjoys being artistically
formal education has been diverse and includes a couple
of years in architecture plus a degree in industrial
sales, but to focus on music, I earned my B.A. at
Queens College, NY (now a part of SUNY) and some
insights into world music, ethnomusicology and
experimental music at Wesleyan University, CT.
My music has won a variety of awards and prizes and has
been heard in concert, on FM stations and at several
American music festivals.
People often ask me what kind of music I write. I
used to say "modern" or "serial".
Serial technique is a basic compositional tool
which treats musical elements as members of a series
which may then as a group be inverted, retrograded,
stretched, transposed, etc., a-la JS Bach, and is
commonly associated with the Viennese composers Arnold
Schoenberg, who developed the technique, and his
disciples Anton Webern and Alban Berg.
Serialism eventually evolved into what became known as
the "international style" which, although it
captured but a small segment of the concert-going
audience, dominated serious composition for
decades. Anyone who knew serial music, or the
names Bartok, Boulez, Cage, Carter, Stravinsky and
Varese, had a pretty fair chance of guessing what my
music might sound like. Some exciting works were
created in those days, but the "international
style" eventually fell into disfavor leaving in
its wake a void that has yet to be filled.
If asked now what kind of music I write, I just say,
"Electronic music. You figure out what to
call it." Some have: "new age",
"movie", "contemporary classical"
are some that I've heard. No one says,
"modern", although my music is certainly
modern, or "serial", although I draw heavily
upon the serial tradition. I tend to favor
"contemporary classical", but not without
begin a new electronic work by choosing a group of
random pitches that I run through a series of
transformations or algorithms until I arrive at one
that exhibits the characteristics I need to give shape
and flow to a work. It could be a simple arc or
pattern, or a fragment that excites me and hints at
what might come next. Once I'm satisfied with
a fragment I can make some decisions regarding
character, structure, density, etc., and generate a
list of "phrases" or "paragraphs" using the fragment as source material.
By the time I've finished these preliminaries,
which might take days or weeks, the music has already
taken on a life of its own and I have a fairly clear
picture of how to proceed. Then it's mostly a
matter of putting the pieces together in a way that
pleases me, makes sense and builds a tightly knit and
well-balanced whole. Small to large sections can be
moved, copied, manipulated, re-orchestrated and
transformed in myriad creative ways -- all with little
fear of becoming lost in irrelevance. The results
can then be auditioned, edited if necessary, and all
but in a click of a mouse.
Yes, I do use and play a keyboard. I have, in
fact, a Kurzweil PC 88 that I don't hesitate to use
it when the music calls for it. But I could go on
and on about the joys of new discoveries and of having
the means to manipulate them in a host of exciting
ways. Even without a keyboard, all things seem
Some folks enjoy and celebrate unusual music, others
have no use for it. All I can say is there can be
much, much more to music than immediately meets the
ear. Andóat least when it comes to modern
musicófamiliarity doesn't always breed
Any one familiar with my music will wonder where all of
these new choral pieces came from. Well, they were
written or updated for the Wyoming County Chorale, a
choral group in the neighboring Tunkhannock. I had a
couple of unchallenging little choral works from my
student days at Queens College which I updated and, one
thing leading to another, rhen composed a couple more
vocal pieces for an upcoming concert in May, 2005.
WCC decided to include TrioCVB, for which they
enlisted professional instrumentalists. This inspired
me to write a couple more choral works, but this time
with instrumental parts. I don't have a good
recording of the concert, but you can hear the
electronic versions HERE.
art is an extraordinarily exciting new medium that
closely resembles the digital revolution in music and
the way music is created, recorded and archivedóso
much so in fact that I could not resist applying some
of the techniques I use in composing electronic music
to my visual art. Instant gratification is nice,
and I experienced much of it at first, but as anyone
will tell you who has used professional graphics
programs like Illustrator or Photoshop and tried to
create faithful and enduring prints of their work, the
learning curves can be very long and very steep
can't say that the transition from electronic
musician to digital artist was a smooth one. But
I am pleased to report that the migration of the
techniques went marvelously well and that nothing could
please me more than to one day combine these two
disciplines in one dynamic work. Sometime in the
near future, perhaps...
My formal training in art derives from classes in art
and architecture at Pratt Institute, the University of
Cincinnati, Wesleyan University and Queens College
(SUNY) and covers, though not always in the greatest
depth, everything from ceramics and sculpture to
painting and figure drawing. My works reside in many
private collections and online galleries. Recent
"real world" exhibits include:
Solo exhibit at the Tunkhannock Library
Art Soup exhibit at the Lizza Gallery
Solo exhibit at the William Norris Earnshaw
Triple Visions exhibit at the Lizza Gallery
Monroe County Council of the Arts Annual Members
Endless Mountains Council of the Arts 8th Annual
Regional Art Exhibit.
Solo exhibit at the Wyoming County Courthouse.
A mostly solo exhibit at the J Farrar Gallery.
R2001 at the Lubelski Gallery
Twenty-seven of my works are on permanent exhibit at
the Air Force Research Laboratories, Rome, NY.
| Triangles 17
$200 - third place
sixties were challenging times for aspiring composers.
I had just won more prizes than any young
composer has any right to expect, and yet, after some
profound musical soul searching, found myself mostly
rejecting the great wave of serialism that was
engulfing the contemporary music scene. Whether
with good reason or not, I'd decided not only that
contemporary classical music was dead, but, in fact,
that all fine art was dead as well. There's a
whole lot more to this story than I can possibly tell
here, but it's how I got into an "art"
that most people will surely see as merely a craft.
You will have to decide for yourself.
I'm not sure whether replacing all of the plumbing
in an old house is an act of sheer folly, or whether
the satisfaction of having done so justifies the
effort. In any case, I found great satisfaction
in getting rid all of those old pipes and replacing
them with bright new copper tubing. The
materials, in fact, were such a pleasure to work with
that I was inspired to fashion them into a cocktail
table. Friends were intrigued by our new addition
and, one thing leading to another, I found myself
designing a variety of sculptural, geometric shapes for
my new art-tables business.
many years ago. There has been a long hiatus during
which I returned to composition and, as you can see,
become involved in the exciting world of digital art.
Bronze fittings with their strong masculine
character are no longer manufactured, alas. But
these new all-copper bases, if less masculine, are
certainly more elegant . I'm finding new
pleasures in putting them together.