Finding My Way
We love the things we love for what they are.—Robert Frost
Aesthetic identity—I like that. I’m like that. ...Aesthetic meanings go beyond social signals to personal affirmations of our sense of self.—Virginia Postrel
I began composing and arranging music for fun around age fifteen, and for a decade and a half I enjoyed exploring a wide range of stylistic materials—from blues and jazz to Renaissance madrigals, and from classical tonality to modernist atonality. Eventually, after composing dozens of pieces, I found myself gravitating toward some stylistic possibilities and away from others.
Over time, some materials, techniques, and stylistic options came to feel “like me”—working with them felt well-suited to my aesthetic interests. In contrast, as I became increasingly aware of various inherent qualities of different musical materials, some materials began to feel mismatched to my emerging aesthetic ideals. So I continued working with options I found congenial and intriguing, and dropped those that felt like mismatches.
Among the stylistic qualities I find most interesting are melodic beauty, a sense of physical motion, and flexible forms of modal/tonal organization. Some aesthetic traits I find particularly fascinating are strikingness, vivid expression, and a sense of mercurial temperament.
I strive to create works that will engage performers and audience members. But for me, much of the pleasure of composing comes from the labor itself—from spending time exploring materials, techniques, and aesthetic concepts that I find inherently engaging.