Musings & Ramblings
"I cryed a lot with this song when I had a dream with my grampa that passed away some years ago. This song was playing as I was sleeping. It seemed like angels was playing this touching song then I remembered my grampa I cryed a lot . Suddenly I woke up with tears in my eyes. ...thanks u for the touching melodies. Blessings from Bolivia."
This comment from a YouTube fan for a video from my album SPIRITUS. I was so touched by this person's unabashed emotions and honesty. It brought into focus the primary reason that I make music -- to touch others and help to heal and transform consciousness.
At the age of 7 I was playing the old upright piano in the Guild Hall of our church in Belvidere, Illinois, repeating the closing hymn I had just heard moments ago. An elderly woman asked, "Where did you learn to do that?" I had never taken a piano lesson in my life and yet I intuitively knew how to play that hymn in addition to all the current hits popular on the radio. It didn't occur to me to consider how or why I had this gift. But by attracting a crowd that Sunday, and garnishing their praise, a new musician and performer was born!
I soon began to formally study piano and, much to my young ego’s lament, promptly unlearn many bad self-taught habits. With newly imposed discipline I began to play for local pageants, parties, Rotary Club meetings and ballet recitals. Determined to learn as much as I could about my craft, I attended summer music clinics and academies at various universities, eventually earning first place awards at many state piano competitions.
I studied piano performance at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and Mannes School of Music in New York. I found myself in the world of classical recitals, chamber music and vocal accompaniment. Having moved to New York, I began working in Off Broadway theater, serving as musical director, arranger and composer of several productions. Returning to the Chicago area, I played with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and New American Theater. At this time I began to undergo my first real period of spiritual self discovery. I was able to finally recognize that the gift of music I had been given was something that I must, in return, give away and share with others. I began teaching music appreciation to disadvantaged and handicapped children. I worked in earnest with the Camp Sunshine/National Arts for the Handicapped Program and toured the country with Miriam Perrone and future Broadway Tony nominee, Marin Mazzie.
As many of you know by experience, life takes many detours and offers countless paths to explore. I found myself pursuing successful careers in retail and design to “pay the bills”. Yet even with material success in the business world I found something missing in my life. I began to again search for a spiritual meaning and cohesiveness. Out of these years of discovery I realized I had denied my true love for piano and the need to express and share of myself in music. I began to understand my compositions are an instrument of healing and change.
I enrolled in the Berklee College of Music's Electronic Music Production program and a new world opened to me when I began to master the techniques of creating soundscapes, combining my passion for piano with unique orchestrations. I have been deeply influenced by such classical composers as Eric Satie, Gabriel Faure, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Chopin, Scarlatti and Rimsky-Korsakov. I was now able to merge styles influenced by other contemporary electronic and popular music makers: Brian Eno, Eric Whitaker, John Adams, Richard Bone, Liz Story, Kitaro, Yulara, and Peter Gabriel, among many others.
Through the past several years I have released six albums. I like to think that each release has manifested a separate and unique outpouring of my musical consciousness at the time. I appreciate the accolades, awards and various notoriety that these albums have garnered; however, what I most treasure is knowing that people throughout the world are listening and “being touched” by my music.
I still think of that woman, years ago in that church meeting hall, asking me "Where did you learn how to do that?". Perhaps now I would be able to answer her in all sincerity, "I didn't learn how to do it. It was a gift which was given to me by Spirit.” My hope now is to share it with you others and in so doing, transform our emotions and feelings and, perhaps, mindfully enrich our very existence.