Arbor Sketches

1967 / edited 2023 . . . piano or harp (6:40) In 1967 I was already earnestly composing for piano, trombone (my own instrument), even for orchestra. Living beside the Shiawassee River’s glacial-moraine beginnings in rural Livingston County Michigan, my best pastime was hiking along the creek’s forested banks. I was already going to AnnContinue reading “Arbor Sketches”

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”

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”


(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”


2022 . . . digital sound sculptures . . . (9:30) Nimbus Modern physics understands that all matter is built up from just five fundamental “particles”: electrons, up quarks and down quarks with electrical charge; and gluons and photons with no electrical charge. They are not exactly particles, though, but infinitesimal points of spin inContinue reading “Meteorology”

Blue Sphere

The Magic of Pi Sound sculpture . . . 2022 . . . 6:23 Ever since it was viewed and photographed from space (see below) by Apollo 17 in 1972, Planet Earth has become known as the Blue Planet. Such a distant perspective reveals the pervasive blue water of oceans, brilliant white of cloud layers,Continue reading “Blue Sphere”