Fall 2010

Busy times. I’m finally getting going on my book project that I’ve been thinking about for several years. This will be about the influence of Hindustani music on American Experimental music. I’ll be looking at La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Michael Harrison, Robert Morris, Shirish Korde, and other composers. I’m primarily interested in folks who have actually played this music, though in the case of Morris a thorough knowledge can work too. There are a few dissertations here and there and a few articles, but nothing has been collected into book form. I’m the guy to do it and for selfish reasons as well it will play into my creative work.

I’m also busy composing. I just finished a short fanfare for WPU. Sort of Drum and Bass and has a little bit of fuck you in there too. Not sure why, but it just ended up that way. But it’s intense and I think folks will enjoy it. I’m also in the middle of a piece for the NYU Steelband. I’m tentatively calling it “Kids”. It’s joyful and noisy. You get the idea . . . I’ve stolen some of Michael Gordon’s rhythmic ideas. Again. I feel mildly guilty about it except that in all other respects it’s my own work.

And then Wuorinen. I haven’t gone this deep into learning a solo marimba piece since last year when I played the Robert Morris piece I also commissioned. Charles’s solo is a masterpiece. And of course I’ve got the showcase concert at PASIC looming over my head. With a projected 3,000 percussionists in the audience that has been a motivator. I’ve been putting in several hours a day on it, both on and off the marimba. At this point I’m starting to get bored with it, which is a good sign. It’s as hard as they come, but worth the effort. There’s more music in one bar of that piece than in everything you hear on the radio in a given day. It’s pushed my marimba playing to higher levels and I feel better about my powers behind the instrument than I have for a while.

All in all, I’m in full throttle as a musician. At 35 my powers as a composer, improviser, and interpreter are stronger than they’ve ever been. My composing is more fluid than ever, though I have the nagging feeling that the pieces I’m putting out aren’t as fundamentally creative as some of my other pieces, but I’m trying not to think about it too much. Too much thinking is death to a creative person.

And of course I’m still finding (or stealing) time to train for triathlon. It’s off season, so I’ve been hitting the weights more and working on my swim technique. I’m also slowly cranking up my running, setting myself up for some major growth in that area next spring.

Onwards and upwards.

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