Posted on September 29, 2013
Growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana, I began my musical pursuits in rock music in my early teens, being largely self-taught as a guitarist and vocalist; writing original material from the outset and playing and touring with several rock and punk bands.
After high school, I attended the University of Indianapolis where I began formal music study in classical guitar performance, later adding piano as my secondary instrument. After writing several short, imitative compositions for an advanced Music Theory class, my professor encouraged me to consider studying music composition and introduced me to composer Michael Schelle. The following school year, I transferred to Butler University, to study composition privately with Dr. Schelle. Two years later, I gave my Senior Composition Recital and graduated with a B.M. in Music Theory and Composition.
The same year, I was awarded the Davies-Jackson Scholarship to St. John’s College, Cambridge University, a (then) bi-annual, full scholarship awarded to one American student in any discipline offered at Cambridge, to study for the B.A. There, I continued private composition study with Daniel Chua (Free Composition), in addition to a few private composition lessons with Alexander Goehr and Julian Philips. I also attended classes and supervisions with Alexander Goehr, Robin Holloway, Hugh Wood, and Kathryn Bailey, among others. During this time, I had several works performed in St. John’s Composers’ Platform concerts, and was asked to write a work for the Chamber Orchestra of Cambridge by (then) Music Director Christopher Hayward. “In All Their Affliction He Was Afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9), was premiered (twice in the same concert) by the Chamber Orchestra of Cambridge in October, 1995. In July 1996, I received the B.A. in Music and returned to the U.S.
I began my Ph. D in Music Composition the following fall at the University of Minnesota on a Graduate School Fellowship. At the U of M, I studied composition with Dominick Argento, Judith Lang Zaimont, and Alex Lubet; and my theory professors included Michael Cherlin and David Damschroder. I also participated in masterclasses with composers Chen Yi and Philippe Manoury. In addition, I was a Teaching Assistant in 20th-Century Analysis, Set Theory, Orchestration, Orchestra, and Sight-Singing. A number of my pieces were selected works in Ted Mann concerts and readings, as well as School of Music Orchestra readings. It was during this time that the first three movements of my orchestral work, “then they will look on Me, the one they pierced” (Zechariah 12:10), won the 2000 School of Music Call for Scores competition and were subsequently performed in May 2000. The same three movements were also one of six works chosen for the 2000 Minnesota Orchestra Perfect Pitch Readings and read in open rehearsal by the Minnesota Orchestra that November.
My Ph. D coursework completed in May of 2001, I received a Dissertation Fellowship for 2001-2002 to work on my thesis: a symphony in five movements of Mahlerian proportions. As I continued work on the symphony, in January of 2002, I moved to Germany and attended the Karlsruhe Musikhochschule as a guest-student from March to June, where I studied with Wolfgang Rihm and Sandeep Bhagwati in private lessons and composition classes. In July, I attended the 2002 Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music where I had individual composition sessions with Toshio Hosokawa, Johannes Kalitzke, Robert HP Platz, Bernhard Lang, Tristan Murail, Isabel Mundry, and Jennifer Walshe.
Returning to America in August, I continued work on the symphony (and other shorter works) resuming lessons with Judith Zaimont. The following October, I became engaged to my lovely wife, Johanna, and we were married in January, 2004. The Spring Semester of the same year, I was an Invited Guest-Lecturer in Music Theory at the University of Indianapolis. In January 2005, my work Psalm Fragments, was a winning piece in the 2005 Columbia University Music Scholarship Conference and performed in New York City. By March, the symphony and Ph. D were both (finally) completed, and I presented my Ph. D Composition Recital in April. That summer, I was asked by Jim Riccardo, Music Director of the Health Sciences Orchestra (Minneapolis), to write a concertino for violin and orchestra; Maranatha was premiered in April 2006.
In May 2006, Johanna and I moved to Acton, California, where I was Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at The Master’s College in nearby Santa Clarita until May of 2009. There, I taught all the Music Theory and Composition related courses: Music Theory I-IV, Form and Analysis, Counterpoint, 20th-Century Analysis, Orchestration, Arranging, Theory Review, Composition Lessons, Composition Practicum, and a Songwriting course for non-music majors. In the summer of 2007, I wrote the soundtrack to a short film by D.J. Kaufmann, “What We Did in Texas,” which was premiered at the LA Shorts Fest in September.
In January of 2009, I decided it was necessary for Johanna and I to return to Indianapolis to assist with in-home care for my elderly parents; we returned there in May. In 2009-10, I worked as Adjunct Professor of Music at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana, where I taught the music portion of a Fine Arts class as well as Ear Training 1-3. In October 2010, in-home care for my parents was assumed by one of my brothers and Johanna and I moved to Muncie, Indiana, where I was Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Ball State University. While there, I taught Music Theory 111 and 112, Form and Analysis, Band Arranging, graduate-level 2oth Century Counterpoint, and graduate and undergraduate composition lessons. In early 2011, Johanna and I decided to move to Asheville, North Carolina, so after completing my work at Ball State, we moved there in May. That December, we decided to move to Columbia, South Carolina, to be nearer to Johanna’s family which we did at the very beginning of 2012. In October 2012, we moved into our brand new house we co-designed and had built in West Columbia.
In August 2013, I was hired as the new Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Charleston Southern University, but since we had a baby on the way, we decided to postpone moving again until he/she was born. In September, our little baby boy, Silas, was born! Now that he’s here, although we still live in Columbia and I commute to CSU five days a week, we are actively looking into moving to Charleston as soon as possible.
Check out the other pages and my main page for what I have been doing lately.