About the Music

Resurrection-of-Realism_1_About the Music

Although this point may seem irrelevant (speaking above of “erudition”, which has, on occasion, been known to entail academic jealousies and politics), I also think a composer’s personal attitude toward life and toward others is creatively important. The superior or haughty attitude I have sometimes encountered in contemporary music circles can act like a toxin to shrivel a spirit of open-hearted, childlike wonder. Only with the latter spirit can one hope to compose genuinely moving music. Only with such a spirit can one find beauty rather than an empty display of one’s craft, or can one recognize when utter simplicity would be more powerful than complexity for its own sake. A grateful attitude of humility and kindness, then, may not endear one to the intelligentsia, but it may actually be the sensibility most crucial for a true artist to see the beauty in the world and to convey it to others with imagination, love, and a natural, transcendent voice.

Finally, long before concerns about social justice and historical inequities were in the headlines, I had always hoped, in principal, to write music that does speak globally and inclusively to the human heart across all boundaries and all cultures. So, imagine my happy surprise to learn that on the Spotify streaming service alone, people on six continents in over eighty countries have already, of their own choice, been downloading and repeatedly enjoying my last album! And so far, they have done so over a quarter of a million times! I wondered how this could be, when the usual “contemporary classical” album typically enjoys fewer than fifty listeners (and most of those just being polite, as friends or family of the composer or performers). I see this as proof that regardless of its origin or heritage, some music can have qualities common to all forms of music that speak across cultural boundaries — tonality, melody, and emotion, to name a few.

Notice, crucially, that tonality, melody, and emotion are actually what is universal to all forms of world music, not academic contrivances such as self-conscious style hybrids, touted as some newly invented inclusiveness, but natural, universal qualities that already do speak inclusively to the whole world. They happen to be the very same qualities I have employed to reach my local audience, beyond the few elite aficionados and effete reviewers sitting in the hall, to the the rest of the audience sitting in that same hall, and now also beyond to over 80 countries. It is only modernism, atonality, a lack of warm and loving emotion, and weird or complex postmodern attempts by academic composers at contrived global fusions, with no good melody, which, no, I’m sorry to tell them, do not at all speak inclusively to other cultures, or even to their own. 

I have always hoped to leave the world, both at home and beyond, a more beautiful place than I found it, and for more than just a few specialists. However, as a humble musician, one asks oneself, what can I possibly do to make the world a better place? I can only imagine that if music can soothe and help to heal one person, perhaps it can foster peace between two people, and thus, “blessed are the peacemakers”. If two enemies discover that they are both listening to the same beautiful music and therefore have something in common, perhaps it will soften their animosity. I don’t know. In any case, words are inadequate to say how humbled I have been to learn that my music is enriching the lives of people all over the world, entirely of their own initiative, and how grateful I am for the affirmation and global endorsement of my work that this represents.






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