I’m a thinker, a teacher, and an artist. Always learning, always expanding what I do. Always trying to help.
I write music that’s probing and varied, unique and appealing. Hear what I’ve done.
My latest news:
I’ve started my 24th year of teaching at Juilliard. My fall semester course is called “Speaking of Music: How to Speak and Write About It.” In it, we work on describing music in words, and on types of speaking and writing that can be helpful in a musician’s career — writing program notes and artist biographies, and speaking to the audience at performances.
(The link takes you to my online course overview. For a week by week class schedule, with links to all assignments, go here.)
What I love best, in this course: Each week, I play music in class, and ask the students to describe it. To describe it informally, as if they were speaking to a friend. I start with music they won’t know, music in unfamiliar styles, so they can’t use their normal musical vocabulary, and have to rely purely on what they hear, and on the words that spontaneously occur to them to describe that.
The results are so wonderful — original, creative, evocative. And the lesson I work hard to teach is that it’s crucial also to describe the objective facts about the music, the most obvious things, that might seem too elementary to talk about. Because if you don’t describe the most obvious things — whether, for instance, the music is slow or fast — how will anyone who hasn’t heard it know what it’s like?