My lifelong journey as a musician has been the driving force behind my work as a composer. As a child taking piano lessons, I explored beyond my lesson books to other piano music we had in the house, like the piano compilations from Reader’s Digest. I eagerly began playing clarinet in fifth grade, loving band class and the music we played as a group. But I was also hungry for clarinet solo music to play at my level that wasn’t simply a transcription, something composed specifically for the clarinet that was challenging and fun. I wasn’t yet ready for advanced literature, so I needed music that met me where I was. That was a challenge, between not having a private clarinet teacher to recommend pieces for me and the local music store having a limited supply of music for clarinet.
Because of that early experience, I’m passionate about composing for students and amateur musicians. These groups need and deserve quality music that they can enjoy and still be challenged by. My experience as a clarinet teacher and member of several community ensembles guides my work, as I get to observe up-close where these musicians are in their musical lives and their current skill level. I hear how instruments work together in live ensembles, which gives me a deeper understanding of their characteristics than book study alone.
Writing for beginner and intermediate musicians challenges me to grow as a composer and refine my skills. Working within the limitations of what they can play compels me to find ways of presenting my musical ideas without sacrificing my vision for the piece. It requires an understanding of both the player and the instrument. I cannot write just anything and expect it to be easily played.
Drawing on my background as a clarinetist who plays in a variety of wind ensembles, I compose primarily for woodwind and brass instruments. I enjoy the varied timbres these instruments produce and how they combine in an ensemble. And for the times I want a more unified sound, I also love writing for instrumental choirs, specifically clarinet choir and horn choir.
Music has been a constant in my life, even from my earliest childhood memories. It’s been a lifeline through all the peaks and valleys. I hope that, in my own way, I can give back to music what it has given to me.