Music has always been an intensely spiritual vehicle for me. When I was a teenager, I practiced piano every day for hours on end. I was interested in exploring music that could be uplifting throughout, however music has a broad spectrum and my teachers wanted me to explore all of it. This led to my exposure to a wide variety of musical expression. I studied and learned many classic works, like those of Chopin and Debussy, which I really enjoyed, as well as and others like those of Bartok, whose pieces were dissonant and difficult to practice. But regardless of my preferences for composers and pieces, each time I played them I felt like I was transported into a dream-like state. Consumed with wandering thoughts and feelings at the press of each key, the time would fly by. Hours would pass like minutes; so fast that, as if I were actually dreaming, I’d sometimes “awaken” from my practice feeling like the time had never elapsed in the first place. Like I had come back from another realm of sorts. It was very surreal.
As always, my spirit yearned for music that uplifted from the beginning to the last note. And so, at age 16, I decided to begin writing my own. My first attempt I would call Signature because I wanted to create an imprint of my spirit in music. From that point forward I would continue to write, seeking to express myself in pieces that would elevate my spirit higher and higher. Thematically this expression was often based upon religious learning and my exploration of God and life meaning, and so, over the course of decades, I amassed and perfected the works that would later make my magnum opus Heaven and Earth; a suite of classical and contemporary music which was split into two volumes.
Everything happens in due time. This music took decades not just because of its complexity, but because it’s maturation and development was tied to my own, and those things can’t be rushed. Throughout life I have learned that one must live and experience the depths of life’s dimensions in order to grow, and I have. As such, my music grew with me.
For me, my suite transports me as it opens a spiritual doorway of exploration from the depths of my soul. In effect, it is my prayer, and each time I play my work, I feel spiritually and emotionally whole.
You might think that, since I composed it, I would be an expert in playing my music. However, technically, every piece has its own complexities and I have had to learn each of my pieces in order to adequately perform them. It has been a tremendously difficult project that required nearly a decade of practice alone just to be able to perform. Someone more skilled in piano than myself could likely play them much better—and I would be honored if, some day, that were to occur. Rachmaninoff was known to have expressed that Vladimir Horowitz presented his works as he had dreamed. In a public remark after a performance by Horowitz in 1942, he said, “This is the way I always dreamed my concerto should be played, but I never expected to hear it that way on Earth” (1). In 1980, when I was 18 years old, I was fortunate enough to attend a concert by Horowitz in Minneapolis. I was also dazzled by his interpretations of some of Rachmaninoff’s preludes.
While I did my very best to perform my works, someday I hope to hear a notable concert pianist perform and enjoy my work, and share it proudly and elegantly with others.
Now, I am embarking on a new creation.
I am in the midst of orchestrating the engagement of Elluette with the world. Like a piece of music, Elluette’s plan is a complex theme of intertwining melodies that together create a powerful engine for positive global change. We are just embarking upon performing the music that is Elluette; hoping it will result in heartfelt transformations of individuals, businesses and governments for the betterment of humanity and the planet. However well that we are able to pursue this quest, my hope is that great leaders throughout the world will make it their own, beautifully performing this work and carrying it far beyond our ability to perform it by ourselves.
- April 18, 1943, “About Wizard Horowitz, Who Will Return Soon” The Milwaukee Journal, p66