I’m a Northwest composer who writes mostly chamber concert music in a contemporary classical style that some have called eclectic.
The Portland, Oregon music scene: Portland has a lively arts community and every year lots of new music is written by the sixty regional members of the Cascadia Composers and is performed publicly by professional musicians. The Crazy Jane Composers are Portland based women from this larger Cascadia group who give yearly concerts of a big variety. Crazy Jane – inner nature; Crazy Jane Collaborates (with artists from other disciplines), Crazy Jane Misbehaves are some of the past concert titles. Whatever it is, we gather an enthusiastic audience. I love being a part of both groups.
Quick Bio: After getting a BA from the University of Oregon I married and raised a family while teaching piano. My early life had a number of moves in it, and as an adult my nomadic lifestyle continued as I moved to Seattle, then Pacifica, California, Coos Bay, Oregon and finally to Portland since 1976 — a return to the banks of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers where I can claim some of my great grandparents lived and are buried. I received my Masters in Teaching Music from Portland State University in 1981, where I then taught piano for twenty years. Homer Keller was my main composition teacher at University of Oregon many years ago. In the late 1980’s I had several months of private composition lessons with Eric Funk, and subsequently over a number of years a few sessions with Portland composer and former colleague at Portland State University Tomas Svoboda.
My music has been performed in the Northwest by FearNoMusic, the Performers’ Choice Concert at the Ernest Bloch Festival Composer Symposium, at Portland State University, and the South Seattle Unitarian Choir as well as a number of concerts presented by Cascadia Composers and Crazy Jane Composers.
The CD: All of the places I’ve lived influenced the compositions that are on my Solo and Chamber Music CD which came out in 2011. From the sagebrush and wild west near Boise in the “Idaho Toccata Trio” for violin, cello and piano to the more cosmopolitan and eastern influences of San Francisco, Seattle and Portland in “Tango for David” for violin and piano, “Three Songs from the Tao Te Ching,” for mezzo soprano and piano, translations by Ursula LeGuin and Stephen Mitchell, and “Love Love Wind Dust” for cello and piano.
The joyous aspects of life in celebration and some commiseration with the vagaries of the human condition influenced such works as the “Six Short Pieces for Piano,” “Crazy Jane” for violin and piano, “Waking Up Slow” and “Looking For Drive” for trombone and piano and “Fanfare for Elizabeth” for piano solo. A visceral response to a few noisy moments in nature show up in “Backyard Toccata”.
“Correspondence” is a little different. After many decades of silence an old college friend wrote a breezy letter and a piano score by way of re-introducing himself. (“To Cynthia While I Do My Wash”) It’s a gentle piece in a more light nostalgic style than I’d explored up to that point. So accepting the challenge, I wrote him back a knock-off piece entitled “For Ernest: Hangin’ ‘Em Up To Dry” with a sassy tango sandwiched in between some nostalgic sweetness with a letting-go part at the end. The piece by Ernest, this reclusive hermit who now lives in a cabin on the Rogue River, is included on the CD with his permission.
I was so happy with the performances of my very gifted friends on this CD. Please check out their bios and a little of the music on the CD page.