Philosophy and Goals

With a few exceptions, I write my music to be performed by Classically trained musicians in concert situations. My music is carefully notated and crafted with the particular requirements of the performers in mind. As a performer myself I have experienced a variety of new music, some of which has been of an uneven quality in terms of practicality and creativity, so I am acutely aware of not alienating my musicians with unreadable parts or incorrect notation.

Music, I believe, should have an underlying thread, which can communicate to the listener. This can be in the form of melody, harmony, rhythm or an extra-musical idea. Some contemporary music consists only of texture and timbre, utilising isolated gestures which are unrelated to each other, and which need another dimension such as a film or ballet to give the sounds meaning. For concert music, I believe the composer has a duty to the audience to create an ongoing sense of narrative, and I seek to engage my audiences by giving them enough familiar sounds so that they can travel through the music with me and gain enjoyment or meaning from the experience.

Over the 4 decades that I have composed music my style has changed, although there are some threads which continue throughout my output. My early pieces explored ways of making sense of discords and experimented with a variety of contemporary harmonic techniques, many of which I use in my current pieces. In my later pieces I have been influenced by the forms and tonalities of Minimalism, and have explored the beauty of harmony through more Romantic sounding chords and progressions.

I have always been fascinated by the energy of rhythm, and my early pieces contain constantly changing time signatures and shifting rhythmic figures. Paradoxically this led to a somewhat static effect, especially in longer movements. In my later works I have sought to create impetus by utilising more regular time signatures, seeking the rhythmic bite through manipulating the rhythms within the bar. This technique has led to a greater sense of exhilaration and buildup of energy.