The book Silence and Beauty is part-memoir and part-exegesis of Endo's novel Silence and the intersections it leads to among Japanese culture, Western culture, Christianity, and art. Last week, I paused after reading this quote to ponder what moment would be Ground Zero for my current music-making. It was...
"Hey, it's Lafayette," I said and smiled as if referring to a friendly acquaintance. I recognized his recorded voice at the gift shop at The Kennedy Center last weekend: the opening song of Hamilton was playing in the background. After the music's dramatic buildup and split-second pause, I sang along with the name "Alexander Hamilton"… Continue reading Echoes of Hamilton
Instead of going to stores on Black Friday, my family and I went to the matinee performance of the new play Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole at People's Light in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
"It's beautiful," I heard someone whisper as I performed one of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel's songs for piano at The Trust Performing Arts Center. I had thought the same a few weeks earlier when I chose the piece. The opening and closing section features a gradually expanding melody whose phrasing I practice by singing, although high… Continue reading Valuing Homemade Music
“The piano is not a chord machine,” I have said to myself and my composition students. I have experienced its effectiveness as a chord machine while accompanying art song, hymns, and indie rock, but I have played too much repertoire by Mozart, Chopin, and Debussy to be content with writing repetitive patterns of blocked or… Continue reading Escaping the Struggle of the Chord Machine
Their careers are paradigms for my pursuits of contemporary and classical music in unexpected places and improvisation at the piano.