I have been creating and playing music since I was a child. Beginning with piano and trombone, I migrated to the guitar when I was 12 years old, and later fell in love with classical guitar. Composing, however, was something I simply did all the time, with or without instruments at hand. The house where I grew up in Connecticut had all kinds of music playing constantly. I would spend many hours alone trying to understand the inner workings of the songs by Cole Porter, Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, the Beatles, and so many more. I dissected many songs sung by Frank Sinatra and his peers. At the same time, I wrote my own songs with my attempts at creating poetic lyrics.
I entered Ohio Wesleyan University in 1970 as an English Literature major where I continued to be immersed in music-making, writing song after song. After dropping out in my junior year, I focused upon classical guitar studies, as well as composing, and transferred to Ohio State where I received my undergraduate degree in music with emphasis on music composition, followed by both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in composition. By 1986, I was a professor at a small college in Ohio teaching music composition and much more. I left academia in 1992, and except for a short sojourn as a visiting faculty member at The Ohio State University, I have returned to academia only for the occasional residency. I opened my studio, Sound Endeavors, in the Fall of 1992 where I have pursued composing and teaching along with audio production.
On the surface, my journey may seem unremarkable, but indeed, it has been quite amazing. Along the way I have met and worked with extraordinary people, from the fantastic painter, Denny Griffith, whose work graces the cover of my album, Seize The Day: Quartets by Richard Jordan Smoot, to my beloved English Literature teacher at OWU, Libby Reed, to Thomas Wells, Elliott Schwartz, Rodion Shchedrin, Donald Harris, Christopher Teves, and Vit Micka. Last but not least are the wonderful artists who are heard on this album, Richard Stoltzman and Carpe Diem String Quartet. I feel blessed to have been able to spend so many years making art with so many great people.
My journey as an artist began as a deeply personal search for meaning in life….for love, beauty and communion. I feel that fortune has often shined upon this journey even as I continue to move along…whirling!