Spatula is an autobiographical homage to the guitar. Because the guitar is one of my favorite instruments, I wanted to write a piece that displayed some of the many diverse styles of guitar playing. I decided to begin by quoting one of my favorite classical pieces, Francisco Tarrega's Capricho Arabe, which appears in loose form in the introduction. But, whereas the introduction to Tarrega's piece leads to a beautiful, lulling, and mournful accompaniment figure in d-minor, Spatula leads to a fun and upbeat "banjoesque" bluegrass figure in D-major. This section soon makes way for a dramatic Cuban habanera, which in turn leads back to another bluegrass section. After more stylistic alternations, we arrive at what might be called (tongue-in-cheek) a "bluebaneragrass" section in which the two styles are merged. As things spin more and more out of control, the habanera is brought back alone with frequent and aggressive interruptions that eventually take over-- only to yield to a final bluegrass riff that concludes the piece. (Performance tip: Don't be afraid to frequently alternate plucks between the thumb and fingers as in folk and bluegrass "double-thumbing" styles.)
has received awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Indiana University. He has been commissioned by the Westchester Philharmonic, the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center (Merkin Hall), the New York Youth Symphony, the Albany Symphony, and the classical/rock ensemble "Dogs of Desire." He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (B.M.), Juilliard (M.M.), and Tisch School of the Arts at NYU (M.F.A.), and has done graduate studies at Yale.