As a composer, I am fascinated by borders and boundaries, by ruptures and discontinuities, by the betwixt and between—that is, by the interstices between different musics, by the joining of music to other elements, and by the intriguing and perplexing relationship between musical and (ostensibly) non-musical experience. Some years ago, I completed a series of works, Apocryphal Stories, in which I assembled, deformed, and juxtaposed a motley collection of pre-existing materials, creating new artifacts out of excavation, appropriation, and commentary. My interest in conversing with elements outside my own imagination was intensified when I began to play the shakuhachi in 2009; and yet, while the shakuhachi repertoire was new to me, the instrument’s focus on timbre, breath, and nuance felt entirely familiar, since it had much in common with the way I have always approached my primary instrument, the clarinet. A recent evening-length performance, Desire Lines, includes music for clarinet, shakuhachi and gong, valuing stillness, silence, and ritual—as well as some playful and irreverent commentary on the fetishization of same.
My scholarly work combines analyses of the “nuts and bolts” of musical design with investigations of cultural context; earlier on I approached such topics as jazz analysis, interculturalism, and signification in contemporary opera. More recently, I have been reflecting on the relationship between creative activity and everyday life, examining the impact of gender, cultural identity, and spiritual practice on musical experience. Recent graduate seminar topics include strategies of autobiography and masquerade in composition; the formation and dissolution of boundaries between musical idioms; and the interdependence of sound and image in dance and film.
Compact Disc: My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon (Albany Records, 2011).
Compact Disc: Apocryphal Stories (Albany Records, 2004).
Compact Disc: When the Smoke Clears (CRI 893, 2002).
• "I Am Not Making This Up!’—Part 2: ‘No, thanks, I’ll just listen,’ Or, a Reception of Sorts (with a couple of lies, some— boundary—issues, and a little too much information).” Open Space Magazine 8/9, Fall 2006/Winter 2007.
• “I Am Not Making This Up!”—Part 1: A Gender Identity Remix in the Form of Some Appropriations, Avowals, Denials, and Inquiries (Or, On Second Thought, a Palimpsest or Two). Open Space Magazine. Fall 2004.
• “Save You’re Money (sic), Spend Your Art: Cultivating Imaginative Space on Campus.” The American Assembly’s The Creative Campus, February 2004.
• Review Essay: "Audible Traces: Gender, Identity, and Music," ed. Elaine Barkin and Lydia Hamessley. Open Space Magazine, September 2002.
• "Making Mischief in the Melting Pot: The Eclectic Music of Don Byron," Intercultural Music 3 (Point Richmond, CA: MRI Press, 2001).
• "Music Drama on the Concert Stage: Voice, Character and Performance in Judith Weir's "The Consolations of Scholarship,"" Cambridge Opera Journal, vol. 12, no. 1 (March 2000).