My music has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Washington D.C.’s The Phillip’s Collection, Chicago’s WBEZ, Juilliard’s Continuum, and Malta’s Equinox, among others. My theoretical research is published by Musical Insights and the University of Wisconsin Foundation. I am also a strong and active advocate for music education, which manifests in my work as author of The Sayre Series™and as Director of The American Musicianship Suite.
My music draws on extensive experience with architecture, fine art, design, horticulture, botany, and carpentry. My artistic and philosophical perspective is heavily influenced by nature and by my lifelong interest in the underlying principles common to diverse creativity and artistic endeavor—movement, repose, quiescence, proportion, proximity, contrast, and context
Academic Musical Biography
I completed undergraduate studies in piano performance at The Ohio State University and graduate studies in theory and composition at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Texas at Austin. I joined the piano faculty of the Merit Tuition-free Conservatory of Music in 2004 and served as chair of the theory and composition department from 2006 to 2012.
My primary compositional interests lie in the fusion of several major sources in formation of an expressive personal idiom: the pan-tonal thematic language of the first two thirds of the Twentieth Century, particularly in the music of Debussy, Ravel, Bartók, Stravinsky and Britten; more recent eclectic blends of tonal and modal music from the last few decades, particularly in the music of Adams, Dalbavie, Pärt and Tsontakis; and the rich fund of modal practices of the Sixteenth Century, particularly the music of Josquin des Prez.
My passion for disparate musical traditions and for divergent paths in Twentieth-Century music—the emergence of symmetry as a means of melodic, harmonic, and modulatory organization, the gradual re-equalization of scalular tones through folk and non-Western influences, and the invention and permutation of the twelve-tone system—all inform my work. These and many other musical traditions foster my appetite and love for music of dramatically varied styles and genres. My music typically falls into two categories: 1) small-audience music in the tradition of abstract Western art music and 2) large-audience music influenced by popular sound and style, characterized by prominent melody, clarity and transparency. These aesthetics are not exactly separate in my mind, and I increasingly synthesizes them in my work.