From the category archives:

Music by Roger Bourland

I had a cathartic experience recently. I have been asked to write a piece for a legendary colleague, famous in the jazz world. I decided to wrap an orchestra around one of his jazz tunes. As I began the process, I had a rude awakening: you are NOT a jazz arranger, Roger. Wow. Not that […]


I wrote the first movement, “Cl’Airea” in honor of Paul Reale and Claire Rydell’s wedding. Claire plays cello and Paul plays piano. They did not perform it at their wedding, but it was later premiered by Ron Leonard and Ann Perry. The title is a fusion of their names. The second movement is a memoir […]

{ 1 comment }

The Nijinsky of the Viola

April 22, 2011

Last night Richard O’Neill performed my Three Arias for Viola and Piano at a concert of string music by Los Angeles Composers–all performed beautifully by UCLA faculty and student ensembles. On the first half I was surrounded by Stravinsky’s gnarly Double Canon and Three Pcs for String Quartet (1914), and the Joyce-ian masterpiece Op. 45 […]


Over the past four days, my new “Duarte’s Love Songs” was premiered at a small concert hall in a private home (designed around an organ by Greg Harold), in a modern church in Pasadena (good acoustics for a church), and at UCLA (not in a hall, but a carpeted public assembly room). It was fascinating […]

{ 1 comment }

LOS ANGELES, Calif. They met at UCLA thirty years ago as students, and their collaboration as artists and composers has continued to this day. “I was gestating the idea of Pacific Serenades when Roger Bourland and I met,” recalls Mark Carlson, founder of the award winning chamber ensemble, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this […]


The Gateway Men’s Chorus has just released a new CD Love Changes Everything which includes “Parade” with lyrics by John Hall and music by me from our cantata FLASHPOINT/STONEWALL (1994). It’s a song about two gay men, one younger, one older, who meet at a gay pride parade, each complaining for different reasons, until they […]


Learning the language

January 18, 2011

Tonight, Mitchell and I met with Vladimir Chernov to work on three of our arias that will be premiered in March in the Pacific Serenades concert series. Our vocal curriculum teaches our (English speaking) voice majors how to speak clearly in various languages: Italian, French, German, Russian… We are experiencing this process first-hand in that […]


This from the Kansas City Star: WARENSKJOLD Dorothy Lorayne Warenskjold, 89, of Lenexa, KS, passed away, Monday, December 27, 2010, at the Lakeview Village Care Center. Dorothy was born May 11, 1921, in San Leandro, CA, the only daughter of William and Mildred (Stombs) Warenskjold. She graduated from Mills College in Oakland, CA. She was […]


Notating vocal music

December 30, 2010

When music students learn species counterpoint or Renaissance polyphony, we usually have them notate in time signatures like 4/2, 3/2 or 2/2, so the page is full of half notes and quarters–rarely will one see eighth notes. Since Stravinsky, composers have dropped the typical individual flag notation, common in Italian operas from the 18th and […]


Responding to vocal music

December 22, 2010

As I was composing yesterday, listening back to the music I had written, emulated by software synthesizers inside a notation program, I noticed the difference between listening to the music as instrumental music as opposed to adding a voice to it. The voice brings it to life for humans, attuned to such timbral joy. In […]

{ 1 comment }