Serenada Schizophrana is a completely new experience for me. Except for my early music/theater work, I’ve always had visuals to drive my orchestral music. Beginning was quite daunting. I began composing several dozen short, freeform compositions, none of them related. Some of them began to develop themselves until I had six separate movements that, in some abstract, absurd way, felt connected. I let myself wander into a musical stream of
Many of my musical influences come from mid-century film composers such as Bernard Herrmann, Nino Rota, and Alex North. In terms of classical music, I was hugely influenced by Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Orff, and Bartók. Early Duke Ellington also had a major role. I consider myself to be a musical throwback. With the exception of a few more recent influences like Harry Partch and Philip Glass, I am forever attached to the music of the early 20th century when, for me, orchestral music flourished alongside the creation of jazz in a unique and remarkable way. I suppose this piece mixes up all my influences in a kind of musical "gumbo." I hope it’s interesting and perhaps even entertaining.
The American Composers Orchestra and its conductor Steven Sloane seemed to sense the quality. Serenada Schizophrana was more smoothly and tightly played than anything else on the program. It was a big and unusual kind of audience for a symphony event: the young and the near young were everywhere one looked...