What do I find interesting?
I am a constant and wide-ranging reader. My undergrad and graduate work was almost all music, with just minimum requirements in other areas. Since that time I have done extensive reading in many topics, including history, psychology, anthropology, religion, mythology and poetry. I read very little about music! History can give the facts and big ideas about an age, but poetry opens the soul, allowing an immediate and intimate engagement with people of other times.
My reading, like my composing, is not preplanned. I go where my interest pulls me. Over time it has focused on the issue of war, and with that, the foundational issue of human violence: What is it in each individual, what in society? What is the nature of war? How is violence transformed in the individual and in the world? Violence cannot be avoided or eliminated, no matter how much we may pray for peace. On the other hand, it is possible actively to work with the energy of violence. I have come to understand that violence can be transformed in composing and performing music. Players and audiences come to a unified sense of well-being. The deepest insight I can offer is this: you cannot hate while making music.
Two stories on this theme:
I traveled to Beijing, China in July of 2016 at the invitation of Li Fangfang, founder and music director of the Beijing Wind Symphony, and the Asia-Pacific Band Directors Association which was holding its 19th annual conference. Bands are […]