B i o g r a p h y
My career as a composer has come in two waves: one spanning the years 1980-1990 when several of my orchestral pieces were performed along with vocal and chamber works, and another starting in 2007 after a decade and a half of intensive work as a musicologist. (The majority of my twenty one books, most recently including The Hum of the World and The Thought of Music--winner of the 2017 ASCAP Foundation Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism--are published by the University of California Press.)
My return to composition as a classic late bloomer was prompted by the unexpected opportunity to compose a song cycle based on prose extracts from Henry James’s novel The Wings of the Dove. Since then I have divided my time between scholarship and composition. My music has won competitions held by Composers Concordance, Hartford Opera Theater, Ensemble for These Times, and the Arc Project. I have enjoyed numerous performances of vocal and chamber music across both the United States, from New York to Santa Fe to San Francisco, and Europe, from London to Vienna to Stockholm.
My compositions cover a broad spectrum: sixteen song cycles, stand-alone songs, piano music, nine string quartets, chamber music, choral songs, and orchestral works. I favor traditional acoustic instruments and try (like so many others these days) to compose timely classical music that is clear, communicative, and deeply felt. I don't follow a ruling agenda, but just compose each piece in its own particular way.
I teach at Fordham University where I am Distinguished Professor of English and Music.