I have many loves and even more interests, but music is and always been my passion. When I was young, I could imagine no life other than one defined by music; however, now that I can view the full arc of my youth from afar, incredulously, I’m forced to concede that providence did not allow me to devote my life to music in the way I had foreseen when I was young. As Alexander Borodin once told Liszt, “I’m afraid that at best I’m just a Sunday Composer.” Like Borodin, at best, I can claim to be no more than “a Sunday Composer,” but like Borodin, I was fortunate to have additional interests.
My love of nature, ecology, design, architecture, and teaching are genuine and deeply meaningful parts of my psyche and life — importantly, they’ve also helped me earn an honest living — but I continue my struggle to devote as much time, energy, and focus to music as fate allows. Like Borodin, I have something to say, and ultimately, my heart belongs to music.
Despite my passion for writing music, I’ve almost never promoted my own compositions. I’ve simply never been comfortable doing so, and as a result, I’ve never been very good at it either. Nevertheless, some of my pieces enjoy a modest following, which is particularly satisfying for me as a mere “Sunday Composer.” Whenever I hear that my music is being played — often in parts of the world I’ve never seen by people I’ve never met — it’s gratifying to know they’re playing it for no reason other than they want to… and listening for no reason other than they enjoy it.
Teaching is an important part of my life. I’ve been teaching since I was seventeen, and I love it. I began giving piano lessons during my freshman year in college, and soon after, I began teaching harmony, ear-training, and counterpoint as well. Later, my teaching expanded further to include several disciplines in the field of landscape architecture: design studios, planting studios, site engineering, and grading and drainage.
My students have ranged in age from three to eighty-seven in venues that ranged from private lessons to large graduate programs at esteemed universities. My love for teaching and the breadth and depth of my teaching experience inspired me to devote considerable effort to creating meaningful, substantive materials for music education. Much of this work eventually took formal shape in The Sayre Series™ and The American Musicianship Suite™.