|You might enjoy this brief chronology of some of the events (big and small) in my musical life. We are living in a time of tremendous technological innovation and the music-making capability that has developed in the last few years would have been unimaginable in the not-so-distant past. Chances are you will grin a bit as you read this and realize that my "memory lane" and yours probably have some things in common.|
|1961||Emenee Organ||church hymns||I taught myself to play by ear and figured out how the notes in the hymnal matched the music. Never said anything about it -- I assumed everyone did the same thing!|
|1963||Piano||first compositions||Walked into a piano store with Grandma. I wanted to try out a piano. Salesman wouldn't let me until I agreed to wash my hands. I sat down and asked Grandma "What do you want to hear?" Grandma started calling tunes and I played them. She was pretty amazed. She informed my parents and they ended up purchasing a piano and set me up with lessons. My parents figured music was a passing thing and I wouldn't stick with it. (Then again, maybe Kevin will be another Liberace!)|
|1964||First tape recorder||JC Penny portable||3 1/2" reels and no capstan. Most kids my age wanted toys for Christmas. I wanted a tape recorder.|
|1965||First Electronics Kit||oscillators 'n stuff||Got an electronics kit from Burstein/Applebee electronics. I wish I still had it. It had two transistors. Could change the frequency of the oscillator with a pot. Reinventing the wheel was fun! (My parents' Liberace dream starting to fade.)|
|1966||Hammond E-100||tone wheel sound||the "Harp Sustain" stop made spacey sounds. I wrote a song called "Trip to the Stars" (original name, huh?) and people still remember it.|
|1966||Better tape recorder||3 3/4 ips (!)||Another Penny's recorder with 5" reels. A screw-on capstan sleeve allows two speeds. Do you think I did chipmunk music? :) (Parents' feeling frustrated now. My music sounds like noise to them. And how do you put a candelabra on an oscillator?. Doesn't work into the Liberace plans.)|
|1966 - 1969||VOA, Moog, and Carlos||What is this mysterious new instrument?||When
VOA programs on the short wave radio, I heard one (perhaps more)
interviews with Dr. Moog about a new instrument that could make
interesting sounds. Heard my first snippets of "Switched-On
on short wave radio. When I went into record stores asking
this album, people treated me like I was an idiot. Though the
album came out in 1968, I couldn't locate one in Kansas City until
To hear this music was a life-changing event.
What were all those mysterious knobs? How does a synthesizer work? I absolutely had to play one of these mysterious instruments.
I spent much time staring at the Moog on the Switched-on-Bach album cover trying to figure it all out. Alas, the pic was too blurry!
|1972||First stereo cassette player/recorder||bouncing tracks now||My first lesson about noise buildup. I used the "Reiteration" control on the Hammond to create click tracks.|
|1973-1975||Work with friends' stereo reel-to-reel||more track bouncing||With little money, I had to borrow equipment from friends. One was a two channel Roberts recorder that allowed one to listen to the left channel while recording on the right. Using the Hammond's line-out as a source of electronic sound.|
|1976||Teac A3340s||4 channels, life is good||I got a part-time job at BA electronics to get the employee discount. All the equipment that I purchased then still works! Continuing to use the Penny's recorder as a distortion unit -- when I overdrive the input with the Hammond organ's line output, I get some nice clipping and Inter-modulation distortion.|
|1976||Aries Synth||an affordable kit from a great company||Terms were 50% down, 50% COD. When I called Aries asking for the delivery time, I wasn't trying to see how FAST I could get the stuff -- I wanted to see if I'd have enough time to earn the other 50%! When they told me the order would be delayed because of a back-ordered part, I'd say "Great! I'll place an order!" One time when the shipping time was up to a few months, I increased my order on the spot!|
|1977||Live performances and Parker Academy||paying for college||The Aries was one of the best investments I ever made! I managed to get a teaching job for electronic music which payed for the rest of my college and got to introduce dozens of folks to electronic music. I played a set of (mostly) switched-on classics at local art shows, brown bag concerts, and the like to make extra $$. This was great fun!|
|1979||Aries Expansion||a big synth to fill up four tracks||To add more tracks was too expensive. My solution to get more sound from four tracks was to expand the Aries synth. Towards the end of this project, Aries went out of business. To their credit, they followed through on every part of every order. Someone may have gone into their own pocket to fulfill my final order. Not only did they have a great product, they proved to be an extremely honest and ethical company.|
|1982||Bachelor of Music degree||the piece of paper||Managed to finish my degree with a major in Pipe Organ performance.|
|1986||Casio CZ3000, 1040ST, Dr. T's KCS||MIDI = my musical life forever changed||The first convincing demonstration of MIDI was at a wonderful music store in Davie, FL: Universal Language Music. When the store's owner pressed "enter" on his PC Clone the entire room burst into resplendant music. There are few times in one's life where a single event changes everything. This moment shook me to the core.|
|1987||CZ-101||up to 12 channels||The CZ-101 added another four channels...|
|1988||CZ-101 (sixteen channels)||16 channels!||... and the second CZ-101 added four more. Since the three Casio synths support multi-timbral mono mode, I finally realized my dream of working in 16 channels!|
|1991||AAGO Certificate||this was a lot of work||I'm strong in music theory however I am less than a walking encyclopedia of music history facts. Took me three tries to get through the written test because of those darned music history questions! The third year the questions included questions about pipe organ stops and minimalism. Woohoo, got it at last!|
|1992||Falcon030 and Cubase Audio Falcon||non-linear recording, goodbye to scissors and splicing tape||Finally, have more than four audio channels and the facility to burn my own cd's. In 1976 when I purchased the four-channel recorder, to have eight or sixteen channels seemed like something that would never happen for folks like me. These are great times for composers and electronic musicians!|
|1999||VZ1||touch sensitive||Analog synths are now in high demand, so I am now on Ebay getting great deals on digital stuff. :)|
|2000||FZ10M, Midi to CV converter||keep the Aries up to date||To see my beloved Aries synth gathering dust was painful. So many good sounds yet no MIDI capability. Built Paia's MIDI-to-CV converter and now my Aries has a whole new life. Paia is a great little company from OK. Is there any electronic musician that hasn't built at least one of their kits?|
|2003||K2600||I love this synth!||I wanted to acquire a more modern synth and went for the Kurzweil.The K2600 is an awesome synth and I still haven't scratched the surface of this remarkable instrument.|
|2005||Theremax and Etherwave Pro||how a $180 project becomes a $5000 project.||When
I visited Paia's website to acquire the MIDI-to-CV converter, I read
about their theremin kit. They had a link to some tracks from
Clara Rockmore's "Art of the Theremin" cd. I thought, that is
beautiful, expressive playing. If I had a Theremin, I could
control my VCAs from it and impart some nuanced shading that I
couldn't achieve with foot pedals.
When my son wanted to build an electronics kit with me, not needing anything in particular, I decided to break down and order the Theremax. Once constructed, I discovered that I could actually play tunes on it -- a very unexpected turn. A couple of weeks later, I ordered an Epro figuring that I could probably resell it if I couldn't play it. I discovered that I could play it!
Decided that I wanted to perform live on Theremin with backing tracks (and someday, perhaps with other musicians). So acquired a nice Mackie PA system.
|2005||Spellbound and Thereminworld||Spent an outrageous amount of time (around 40 hours) to learn and record "Take me out to the Ballgame" on the Theremin.||My first recorded work was done for one of Thereminworld.com's monthly contests. My rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was broadcast on the Spellbound internet radio program. I have been on the Spellbound artist list since that time.|
|2006||mp3 and live Theremin Performances||playing live again!||Played
a Theremin set with backing tracks for a large, by-invitation, outdoor
party. Looking forward to more live performances.
Submitting Theremin performances to the Spellbound program on a regular basis.
|2006||First Record deal||Discovered!||One
of my heretofore unreleased tracks: "PCT 125" has been
for inclusion on an upcoming cd: the
electronic bible Chapter 3
This CD is being produced in the UK by White Label Recordings.
|2006||David Vesel's latest project||Performed the Theremin part on David's cd.||David Vesel asked me to perform the Theremin part for "I'll Still Be Here Tomorrow" -- a track from his latest CD "Your Mileage May Vary" . I recorded the Theremin part in my Kansas City studio and David mixed it in his St. Louis studio.|
expertise of my fellow thereminists was very strong in 2006.
To be recognized along with them is a genuine honor.
is selected as the winner for 2006 in the neo-classical
In addition, the "Ricercare" is nominated for Best Classical Performance of 2006.
|2007||Electro-music 2007.||A live performance of my original compositions.||I am happy to have been chosen as one of the performers for the electro-music 2007 festival to be held in Philadelphia. This performance will be streamed live via the internet. Consult the link above for details on the festival and the streaming audio broadcast.|
|2007||Organ music for Andrew Shirley's film "Chicken Pox"||How do you play "dirty blues riffs" on a pipe organ?||As the independent film producer, Andrew Shirley, started to edit his latest film "Chicken Pox" he thought that a pipe organ would add a distinct sound to some of the movie's scenes. After a few emails, phone calls, and recording sessions I put together some pipe organ tracks that will fit nicely into the film. (Don't have a release date on this film... stay tuned!)|
|2007||Plaza Art Fair||One of the oldest and largest Outdoor Art Fairs in the United States.||Besides visual artists, the Plaza Art Fair showcases musicians from all over the country. I played at this Art Fair in the late 70s (on my Aries Synthesizer) and to return to the Plaza Art fair after 30 years is great fun!|
|2007||Electronic Music Midwest Festival||Two day Electronic Music Symposium.||The Electronic Music Midwest festival showcases both established and up-and-coming talent in the electro-acoustical music world. Besides performing "Three-Legged-Race" for theremin and live loops, I got to meet many accomplished composers and listen to their music on a spectacular 12 channel sound system.|
|2007||Y2K7 International Live-looping festival||Pattern-based compositions with live-looping techniques.||The Y2K7 Live Looping festival was held in Santa Cruz, CA on October 20-21. I performed a new looped work for theremin (untitled as of this writing) and ended the set with "Three-Legged Race". Everyone at the festival brought a high level of energy, talent, and expertise that made for a great festival. I don't think anyone wanted it to end!|
|2007||H.M.S. Beagle Science Club||Three theremin presentations for all ages!!||The science club, sponsered by the H.M.S. Beagle Science Store , has regular monthly meetings that include presentations of scientific topics. The topics include natural science, physics, astronomy, and, in my case, the use of electronics to produce music with the theremin. I played music and introduced the history, operational principles, and performance technique to the club. Afterwards, everyone had the opportunity to play on the Etherwave Pro, Theremax, and Gakken theremins. The science store was filled with the electronic sound of these instruments -- perfect music for a science store!|
"Best of 2007" program.
||Another year of great theremin music.|| "Three
Legged Race" recieves the "Spellbound" Best
Avant-Garde Performance of 2007 award.
"The Sad Little Ghost" is selected as a runner-up for 2007 in the Neoclassical category.
|2008||Ethermusic Festival||International Theremin festival sponsered by Moog Music.||The Ethermusic Festival was held in
Asheville, NC from
April 24 thru 27. I performed a solo set of original music on
April 24th and was joined, at the end, by Jason Danillo of
Music for an improvisation with the Moog Guitar and Theremin.
bandmate of Jason's joined in on Saxophone.
On April 25, I participated in a seminar on "perfect pitch". I also performed the Percy Granger's "Free Music" with Lydia Kavina, Carolina Eyck, and Randy George. From the piano I accompanied Lydia for her theremin renditions of "Unforgettable" and the Bach "Arioso". In the evening, once again on Theremin, I performed in Lydia's "Improvisation of the Stars" for piano and four theremins.
On April 26th, I accompanied Lydia's composition for the Ether Orchestra from the piano and I also performed my own composition, "Mummies and Unholy Ghosts", on the theremin.
Besides my own music, Lydia Kavina kept me very busy with the ensembles. The entire experience was fantastic and hope to be a part of future festivals.
|2008.||"Virtuality"||A CD by the award-winning composer/sound designer: Amin Bhatia..||When Amin Bhatia decided that he wanted to include a theremin track in his electronic arrangement of Ravel's "Bolero", he contacted me. To work with Amin was a pleasure and the CD is a definate "must have" for anyone with an interest in vintage synthesizers. Note that a portion of the the proceeds from this CD benefit the Bob Moog Foundation.|
|2008||Electro-music 2008||A return to this awesome festival.||I have been chosen as one of the performers for the Electro-music 2008 Festival to be held at the Rennaisance Center in Kingsport, Tennessee, August 14 - 16, 2008. Called the "Woodstock of electronic music" by the Philidelphia Enquirer, the program includes lectures, demos, jam sessions, and concerts. As I did in 2007, my set will include some new, never-before-heard, works.|
|2008||Plaza Art Fair||A return to the Plaza Art Fair!||I'm honored to be asked to perform for the second year in a row at this huge art fair.|
|2008||Y2K8 Live Looping festival||They asked me back!||Performed once again at the premiere live-looping festival in the country.|
|2008||Golgotha||A movie by Karla-Jean Davis.||The score includes theremin music from some of the most active thereminists. The score includes my multi-track theremin transcriptions of the Byrd "Ave Verum Corpus" (the 2006 version and a new version)..|
|2008||UMKC Conservatory of Music||A theremin lecture/recital||I returned to my alma mater (for the first time in decades) to perform and speak about the theremin and to discuss practical approaches to ear-training.|
|2009||Electro-music regional festival||The first!||I decided to take the plunge and sponser a regional electro-music festival in Kansas City, Mo. and hold it at our neighborhood clubhouse. Our first festival attracted five participants for two days of electronic music-making and discussions. We decided to make this an annual event!|
|2009||Plaza Art Fair||3rd year in a row||I enjoy performing for the Plaza Art Fair audiences and I'm pleased to be asked back for the third year in a row.|
|2009||Y2K9 Live Looping festival||Another year of live-looping||My performance didn't go quite as planned -- my computer crashed during my set. Well, I managed to get it up and running and ended up with an impromptu performance of "Spiral Galaxies".|
|2009||Electronic Music Midwest Festival||2 1/2 days of electronic music in Kansas City, Kansas||This festival attracts many pre and post graduate college students and faculty. I've been away from college for thirty years and it is really nice to hang with the university crowd without the inconvenience of papers, juries, and exams!|