Skip to content


In anticipation for his World Premiere performance next Sunday of My Hands Are a City, Dr. Jeff Gershman of Texas A&M-Commerce asked all the composers on his program for an answer to the following question:

Has the vernacular music of the United States had any influence on your works or development as a composer?

Here’s what I sent him:

American vernacular music has not only overtly influenced my music but also has become a frequent and major source of that music’s material. For me that means letting go of any remaining (and counter-productive) “classical” prejudices and embracing my love of American popular music in its countless flavors–proudly borrowing and stealing what might be otherwise completely unassociated popular material in order to form the backbone of any piece. Sometimes that’s choosing to concentrate on a certain vernacular style that fascinates me as a compositional starting point, or maybe it’s playing with specific-pop-style forms within more traditional classical models. It’s all on the compositional palette now, and I can see this path serving as a never-ending fount of inspiration and development for myself for a long time.

My blurb will share his program book with answers by Donald Grantham, Christopher Rouse, and Frank Ticheli. Theirs will no doubt be less wordy and convoluted.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to StumbleUpon

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *