Pleased to Meet Me
Perhaps overdue, I thought I might more properly introduce (and even explain) myself.
I am a composer, one who has made a living (such as it is) writing about matters musical for various publications. I've also written books, mostly pitched at the enthusiastic but musically uninitiated. My career as a composer is on one of those inclines so un-steep it occasionally seems a little flat to the hungriest part of myself, but I am slogging it out and making some good headway. At the moment I am in the middle of several exciting projects: a string trio for the New Gallery Concert Series in Boston (Ms. Sarah Bob, pianist extraordinaire, presiding) and a piccolo piece for the amazing Stephanie Mortimore, the Metropolitan Opera's own piccolateer. (Steve Smith wrote glowingly of her in his blog.) But my main love is opera, and at the moment I have one in the works, in collaboration with poet (and raconteur!) Ernest Hilbert.
My beginnings are humble, plastic. Originally, I hail from the cultural epicenter of Orange County, California, a town called Placentia (insert uterine joke here), far too close to Disneyland, where I got my start not as a "serious" author of grand symphonies or swooner to the intricacies of string quartets but as a pianist in the bar of the Anaheim Hilton, and the composer of five musicals, all written under the sway of Stephen Sondheim. However, Beethoven was a sub rosa obsession of mine, however, and I used to sneak off to listen to him (like it was porn), between performances of Annie or Pippin or The Pirates of Penzance (or worse) for which I was inevitably seated at the keyboard, conducting with my nodding head. There is no Placentia Philharmonic or Placentia Lyric Opera (though if there were, they would most likely be embedded in a strip mall or a vast, enclosed shopping center), so my experience with the orchestra and the opera came later (I became nuerasthenically intoxicated at the Rhapsody in Blue with the Fullerton College Orchestra when I was a wee lad of 19!) but when they did, I was hooked. At 24, I very fortunately decamped to Boston to attend the New England Conservatory (where I was determined to be the next Samuel Barber or Aaron Copland) and got a vast education into the ways of the 20th musical century.
So from this odd morass comes the gritty-edged (sic) New York composer blogging before you. Thought you might want to know.