Hawking’s Time

2023 . . . sound sculpture . . . 5 minutes Stephen Hawking, the great theoretical physicist and cosmologist, is famous for solving in 1974 the mind-boggling mathematics of black holes and what became known as their Hawking Radiation. He also wrote a fascinating book, A Brief History of Time. Now, after Hawking’s death, hisContinue reading “Hawking’s Time”

Viennese Sketches

Twelve Miniatures in Twelve Tones 2023 . . . chamber orch: Fl, Ob, Clar, Bsn, Strings . . . 12 minutes I have long admired and been influenced by the music of early 20th-century Austrian composer Anton Webern. Known historically as a member of the Second Viennese School with Alban Berg and mentor Arnold Schoenberg,Continue reading “Viennese Sketches”

Passing Storm

Animated Landscape No. 4 2022 . . . sound painting (4:30) In 1973, I composed my second orchestra piece as a graduate student at the University of Michigan. The title was inspired by John Cage’s famous Imaginary Landscapes No. 4, which we performed as I was an ensemble member of Contemporary Directions. The idea ofContinue reading “Passing Storm”

Aristotle’s Elements

2022 . . . four sound sculptures for orchestra (15:30) One feature of my modern-music and composition e-book Mapping the Music Universe is a set of composing experiments called MapLabs. Each provides lab instructions to gather material and make compositional choices, and each provides an example piece built step by step along the path ofContinue reading “Aristotle’s Elements”

Yin Yang

2022 . . . voice and piano (4:10) A visit to the shores of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula inspired me to write a poem: Peninsula upon peninsula upon grand peninsula,Lee upon Leelanau upon Lower.Cove from bay from great lake,Suttons Bay off Grand Traverse Bay off Lake Michigan. Land curves in myriad shore shapes,Reaching out to blueContinue reading “Yin Yang”

Amber Atoms in the Fire Gleaming

2022 . . . Gymnopédie (5:00) This musical sketch is titled with a translated line (“Où les atomes d’ambre au feu se miroitant”) of a French poem by de Latour that may have inspired Erik Satie — the poem ends with the word “gymnopaedia.” In keeping with Satie’s radically sparse, (one could even say) minimalistContinue reading “Amber Atoms in the Fire Gleaming”


(Clouds) 2022 . . . sound environment . . . (8:30) Quoting Debussy as homage to the first of his beautiful Nocturnes, musical patterns float, repeat, morph, disappear. Many of my earlier compositions are titled under the category of “Animated Landscapes,” referencing a musical analog to landscape painting, sketching musical textures of moving, evolving pitchContinue reading “Nuages”

Summit Ridge

2022 . . . digital sound sculpture (7 minutes) Composed after reading Ed Viesturs’ book, No Shortcuts to the Top, his first-person account of the successful quest to climb to the summits of the 14 tallest mountains in the world, all taller than 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) above sea level. My most vivid personal andContinue reading “Summit Ridge”

Mapping the Cosmos – Book II

2022 . . . collection of more advanced etudes for Piano Mapping the Music Universe produced several small etudes to illustrate the compositional potential of musical patterns explained in the ebook. The inspiration to collect them into a series came from many years of fascination with Bartók’s wonderful Mikrokosmos series of 153 piano pieces inContinue reading “Mapping the Cosmos – Book II”