Just in time to get my new year off to a great start, I’m the featured American composer in the current issue of Chamber Music magazine. The lovely article is by Kyle Gann, and begins, “Allow me to achieve a minor milepost on Chamber Music’s behalf: for the first time here, I’m writing a column about a composer I know only over the Internet.” As much a review of this blog as of my music, the article makes insightful connections between both:

“He is both moderate and moderator, impatient with battles of musical aesthetics in which one side of the coin fights the other for dominance”¦He reserves his anger for the intolerant, and seeks balance”¦

This is just as true in his music. In general it is as finely poised between tonality and atonality as anyone’s I could name. It’s not what one would call intellectual music, but it is written with great care for detail and is often clever.”

Unfortunately, the article is not available online, so if you are dying to read the rest, order your copy soon, while supplies last. I must say, I learned quite a bit from it myself.

And if that doesn’t satisfy, Ken Keuffel wrote an extensive profile (the length and thoroughness of which are very flattering) of me in advance of the premiere of my third string quartet for today’s Winston-Salem Journal. That one you can find here. It even includes a quote from Kyle Gann’s article.

All of this attention is fun, diverting, and good for the ego. Guy in the grocery store says “Hey, you’re famous, aren’t you?” which is both ludicrous and guiltily gratifying. It also provides a nice opportunity to tell a joke about fame I heard from Bobby Mann:

A distinguished professor at an established university teaches a lecture class that has a hundred students in it. At the end of the year, he gives his exam. About an hour into the exam, a young man saunters into the room and, without a word of explanation, picks up an exam booklet and takes a seat. The professor is astonished by the student’s impertinence. Angered, he thinks, “I’ll just let him take the exam, and when he’s finished, I’ll tell him he failed.”

The exam period comes to an end, and everyone comes up to the front of the room to turn in their booklets. All except for the one late student, who still sits at his desk, busily scribbling. The professor, livid at the young man’s audacity, becomes even more vindictive. “I’ll just let him do all the work, then when he turns it in, I’ll tell him he failed.”

An hour goes by. Finally the student comes forward with his exam book, at which point the professor says, “Young man, I don’t even have to look at your exam – you came an hour late, so you failed.”

Quietly, the student says, “Sir, don’t you know who I am?”

The professor is taken aback. “What?”


“NO, I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE,” shouts the professor, fuming, AND FURTHERMORE, I DON’T CARE!”

“Good,” says the student, and he slips his exam booklet into the middle of the pile.

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