Wilderness and Self-Sufficiency (2002-2005/2022-23) is a drama for solo piano. The idea for this composition came after a conversation with a good friend about the modern American’s (i.e., our own) potential for survival without all of the conveniences of our lives. The conversation had a bit of a pessimistic tone to it, but while I worked on the piece I became more and more convinced of our abilities to adapt to any situation and to find the means to struggle against any number of hardships.
Wilderness and Self-Sufficiency is also very much about my own struggle with the (milder) hardships of being both a relatively horrible pianist and a composer obsessed with the piano. Act 1 of this composition addresses my fascination with certain highly dramatic composers of the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries. The inconsistent structures and somewhat fractured form of Wilderness and Self-Sufficiency are a direct reflection of my having forced myself to try to learn to play the music as I composed it – this music is a direct result of my engagement with the wilderness of the piano. Later in life I have had the opportunity to work with a Steinway Spirio computer controlled piano. The performance here is on said piano.
Ruby (2000/2023) is a modular composition based on a certain Thelonious Monk tune. There are three groups of pages labeled A, B C, and D. The twelve pages can be played in any order following that sequence. This arrangement was made by the composer for the Steinway Spirio piano.