My journey to composing

One of the questions I get the most is, "How did you start composing?"

Music has been woven into my life from the very beginning. I grew up in a household where both my parents sang to me, and music was always on the stereo. My first memory is of sitting on my father's lap as he played "Back In The USSR" fiercely on the piano, wailing along in his wild baritone. I'm told that from the time I was two I was making up little songs and ditties in the backseat as I rode to preschool -- so, in some ways, you could argue I've been a "composer" for thirty-something years now!

Still, it was not until last summer that I sat down and decided to write my first "real" choral piece. I had just returned from a show choir reunion at the high school I attended and taught at for 4 years. It was a lark, an experiment, and certainly just for fun. Predictably, what came out of that first effort was a show choir pop tune. And yet, as soon as I finished that piece, I found that I wanted to write another. A few weeks later, I wrote He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven. Feeling pretty pleased with myself, but wondering if this was worth sharing with the world, I emailed it to Dr. Tim Reno, one of my oldest and dearest friends from my undergraduate years at Ithaca College. When he responded that he wanted to program the piece for one of his choirs, I was deeply encouraged.

As is so often the way in the world, one thing led to another. I just kept writing. A few treble choir pieces followed, and then an acquaintance asked if I'd be willing to compose something for the Women's Works of Ithaca concert a few months later. I jumped at the chance. Women's Works gave me my very first rehearsal and premiere experience, and it was a perfect opportunity for a fledgling composer.

The month after Women's Works, I was off to Albany to work with Dr. Reno's choir at Siena after having a few brief rehearsal check-ins via Facetime. Once again, it was an enormously positive experience, and a deep confirmation that as a musician, I am really happiest creating music in the choral rehearsal.

I'm not quite where this composing journey of mine will lead, but I'm happy that you're here on my site, taking the time to read this. I hope you'll stop by frequently!