A Composer's Adventures



“You Do It!”


Years ago I got stuck when writing my wind ensemble work Winds of Nagual. I hammered at it for three days and finally jumped up from the drawing board, threw down my pencil and growled, “You do it!” and I stormed out of my studio.… Read the rest



A flashmob in Sabadell, Spain, with the participation of 100 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra.

I got sucked into YouTube with several flashmobs happening in malls, train stations and other places in different parts of the world. Some of the scenes are worth sharing.… Read the rest

Music: A Psychic Experience?

THE RITE OF SPRING by Stravinsky

Dancer Steven McRae with artists of The Royal Ballet in Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography
of The Rite of Spring. Photo: Johan Persson / ROH

Is music a psychic experience? Stravinsky claimed that The Rite of Spring was already written and that he was simply the medium for it.… Read the rest

We’re Spoiled!

“What a magical place — such atmosphere and beautiful architecture,” was my first reaction on a recent visit to Barcelona. We immersed ourselves in this visual feast, walking along tree-covered boulevards, sitting in the many plazas or cafes. Yes, the food was wonderful.… Read the rest

The New Eroica

EroicaI heard a terrific piece of new music the other night. It’s called “Symphony No 3 in Eb Major” (subtitled “Eroica”) by Ludwig van Beethoven. It was written in 1804. How could this great piece be hidden for so long from my well-tuned ears?… Read the rest

Joy in the Congo

CongoYou may already have heard about a Congolese musician named Armand Diangienda. Without any government funding, he teaches adults in his village to play classical music on western instruments. The project became so popular that word got around and free instruments were donated.… Read the rest

80 Laps Around the Sun

90 LapsI can hardly believe I’ve been on this Earth for 80 years this April 22nd. I used to think of 80 as really old, and looking in the mirror I can see some things have changed. I’m not as agile, but mentally I feel ageless and free to create.… Read the rest

Making Small Concerts Pay

Small ConcertIn my last blog I talked about the power of intimate concerts in small venues. But I wonder how musicians can make a living doing that. A solid chamber music career is hard to come by, unless you’re the Kronos Quartet.… Read the rest