Unlike most, I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up - an “inventor” of music. Coming from a musical family, sound, organized or otherwise, was something that was always around me. Both of my mother’s parents were classical piano teachers and my father’s brother was a professional cocktail/big band pianist. Interestingly and maybe even sadly, I never sought nor was I given piano lessons. This did not prevent me from exploring what sounds could be coaxed from the two grand and one upright pianos that were in the house.
Outside the house there were two incredibly powerful experiences that have had a lasting influence on my sense of what music should or could be. The first was hearing the Sisters at Notre Dame Novitiate sing Gregorian chant at the many masses I served as an altar boy in Ipswich, MA. The second was a quite different experience: standing in front of Stan Kenton’s big band (the one with the mellophoniums) at some ballroom in Lowell and being smacked in the face by more sound than I thought was possible to generate.
For some reason my parents didn’t want me to study music, thinking that this was not a wise or financially rewarding career choice. I was stubborn, they relented, and I attended the Berklee College of Music, majoring in Arranging and Composition. From there I went on to the University of Toronto, which boasted the second oldest electronic music studio in North America (the oldest being at Columbia University), and received a graduate degree in composition.
I was a founding member of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble - the oldest continuous live-electronic group in the world. I've taught at Berklee and Northeastern University. I hosted a contemporary music program on CBC Radio called "Two New Hours". My music was awarded a number of prizes, including “Best Broadcast of Canadian Music” for a piece called “Ecce Lignum Crucis”, which was a setting of the Easter liturgy for voices, orchestra, and electronics.
The influences of my youth have never left and have only become stronger. Music for me has always been about some vague mystical, spiritual quality that is balanced by secular, corporeal, and dissonant elements that join together to form a complete, though never completely accurate picture of what is human emotion. Music is and always has been about emotion, especially those emotions that cannot be easily described by words. If it were possible to express these myriad emotions with words, I suppose I might have always wanted to grow up to be a poet.