Improvising and Refocusing


Last week I released Keyboard Improvisations (Volume VIII). It’s available exclusively on Bandcamp.

(Keyboard Improvisations (Volume VIII), front and back cover artwork)

Included on the album are two particularly interesting improvisations, both of which feature Steinberg’s LoFi Piano VST: Dinner for Two, at Eight, and Relationship Statuses.

Both tracks have a sort of early twentieth century American popular music kind of sound, though the middle section and conclusion of Relationship Statuses are “atonal.”

This new addition to my keyboard improvisation series is an interesting mixture of humor/lightheartedness, and music influenced by emotions that strike painfully deep. It’s also the first of my keyboard improvisation albums to feature the piano more than any other keyboard instrument.

This latter fact led me to consider doing a future piano improvisation album. Whereas the Keyboard Improvisation series features improvisations that were mostly inspired by real-life events – and are (thus?) a bit more accessible – the improvisations on the piano album will be rather “abstract,” and “academic.”

To give you an idea of what the new album might sound like, here is one of the improvisations which will be included on the album:


Every now and again, refocusing is necessary. I’ve had some time during the last week to do so, as I’ve tried to take things a bit more easily after a minor eye operation a little over a week ago. The week that followed – last week – was certainly the most stressful week for me so far this year.

Despite not feeling well, I remained as productive as possible, working on the aforementioned improvisation albums. I also opened an Instagram account, in an effort to try introduce my music to a broader audience. If you are on Instagram, I hope you’ll “follow” my new Instagram page!

I have ideas for a bunch of new works, but, given that I don’t have an infinite supply of time, I can’t pursue all the works that I’d like to pursue. One of these ideas was to complete a chamber work for two harps and percussion; a piece I began composing around the time that I was working on Mata Hari.

While I have two albums – possibly three – slated for the near future (albums on which I’ve been working for some time now: two electronic music albums and an album of piano music), I’m already thinking far ahead of these; considering in what compositional endeavors I might most profitably apply myself. Composing isn’t a hobby for me. Despite the (sometimes surprisingly harsh and unexpected) criticisms I receive for so believing, I prefer to make money from my work. It’s very easy to extol the virtues of the artist creating art for its own noble sake (“We don’t do it to be popular; we don’t do it to be successful,” et cetera ad infinitum, ad nauseum) when you’re a tenured university music professor, where virtually anything you compose will be performed and recorded at the university’s expense – or by your colleagues – as soon as the composition is completed. Free agents such as myself have no such guarantees. While being true to our artistic vision, we also have to be realistic.

While my most popular music continues to be my organ music, the culture of the new organ music world has really begun to turn me off; so much so that I’ve lost a bit of the desire I had to compose organ music. Perhaps I need to change my focus a bit in this regard.

So, we’ll see.

For now, I’m working little-by-little on completing the three aforementioned albums, and composing shorter keyboard works.

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