My mission as a composer is to create music that is meaningful to others – music that provides a rewarding experience for performers and inspires listeners.
The music begins with me, so I must write music that resonates with me and that I feel committed to sharing with the world. But the music comes to life through performers, teachers, students, and audiences. And when they chuckle at a funny or lighthearted moment or are moved and captivated by a lyrical melody, then I know I have written something meaningful.
A saxophonist, I grew up playing in bands and wind ensembles and have always enjoyed writing for that genre. I also love writing for the voice in solo, choral, and chamber settings. Sacred music is an important part of my compositional work. I sing in a church choir, play saxophone in worship, compose original works, and arrange hymns for services.
Here is my story: I grew up in a small town in Connecticut, playing in the school bands, creating wood-working projects in the garage, playing soccer, and riding bikes around our neighborhood. Both of my parents grew up in Vermont (big skiers), so I spent many holidays in the Green Mountain State visiting with family. I also married my wife, Ashley in Vermont; it will always be one of my favorite places.
My brother and I played a lot of sports growing up—I played soccer and tennis all the way through high school (I was nicknamed “Ice Man” at 12 because I was cool under pressure when asked to make penalty kicks!). But, music captured my imagination in a way that nothing else could. I was always humming as a child (just ask my brother) and improvising at the piano—something I still love to do.
I knew I wanted to play a band instrument from an early age. My brother was two years ahead of me and already playing trumpet, but the band program at my school didn’t start until 5th grade. So, I played violin for a year in the 4th grade orchestra. (Sadly, that 4th grade orchestra program has since been cut from the school district.) In 5th grade, I started playing the saxophone (rumor has it I was also considering the trombone!). I spent hours listening to recordings of great jazz and classical saxophonists and trying to emulate their sounds and styles.
In high school, I played in wind ensemble, marching band, pit orchestra, jazz band, etc.—basically, every possibly ensemble—and started arranging and writing my own pieces (let’s not talk about the voice-leading in those pieces, okay?). At this point, I knew I wanted to make music a career. In fact, I knew that I must make it a career. Creating music and being immersed in music was something I needed to do—I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
I continued my musical studies at two great universities, where I worked with some wonderful teachers and talented students. I completed a bachelors degree in composition (and—fun fact—a minor in economics) at the University of Miami and a masters degree in composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where I met my wife, Ashley.
Ashley and I live in Rochester, NY and when I’m not composing, teaching, or playing (with Ashley accompanying on the piano), I love cooking, playing with our dog Rory, and enjoying all that our Western NY city has to offer.
(Read my artist bio here.)