Music > About My Compositions

My life as a composer

In my early life, I was a classical pianist, making my living as a rehearsal/collaborative pianist for ballet and modern dance companies in the Boston area. I have also kept up an active life as a chamber and solo pianist.

My composing activities have all been more recent. In 2003, I joined Quintessential, a men's a cappella group based in Berkshire County Massachusetts. Quintessential, performs concerts at various venues as well as singing in churches, museums and private events. Our stated goal is to be as eclectic as possible in our musical styles, including gospel, classic rock and roll, reggae, classical/grand opera, hymns, and Americana.

I soon began doing arrangements of popular and folk songs for the group. As I became more comfortable arranging for five men's voices, I began writing more original music as well. I began a series of psalm settings and also wrote several original Christmas carols. One of these carols, "Frozen Morn," was awarded an Honourable Mention in the 2007 Christmas carol competition sponsored by the Amadeus Choir of Toronto.

In 2005 I wrote the original a cappella opera "What Owls Do," a 40-minute Christmas-themed opera for which I wrote the libretto as well as the music. The opera has recitative, solo arias, duets and choruses and rotates singers between solos and backup vocals. The piece has been performed every Christmas since 2005. In 2008, I added a vocalise overture because of our collaboration with dancers (we added children dancing during the new overture and also during the final chorus).

More recently, I was a Composer Fellow at Melodious Accord, studying choral composition with Alice Parker in the fall of 2009.

My compositions are all relatively conservative harmonically. Since most of my compositions are a cappella, dissonances must be used with care. I also write for audiences who are relatively conservative. The opera might best be described as musically similar to Offenbach, possibly Saint-Saens. Some of the psalms are more influenced by gospel, Motown or contemporary rhythm and blues harmonies. My SATB carols, anthems, and amens have been performed by church choirs throughout the Berkshires.