Constructing Thought, One Note at a Time
Musically, I am a “synthesist” - someone who is fascinated by all types of music regardless of genre or style, or whether it is narrative or abstract in nature. When I was a kid, I loved jazz and rock and later discovered classical music. But, as a composition student, I was urged by several of my teachers to specialize among my musical activities – to choose between musical theater/rock or concert music. I resisted and instead resolved to synthesize, rather than compartmentalize my creative work. I have composed music for the concert hall (small and large ensembles), and for musical theater, opera, dance, film, jazz, and rock. My thinking is constantly refreshed through collaborations, teaching activities, and new creative projects.
Saturday night my season of pre-concert lectures at the Strathmore Center for the Baltimore Symphony and Levine music began with a bang: Marin Alsop conducted Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 (“Jeremiah”) and the Chichester Psalms, plus Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. Two of my “Four B’s” (the others being The Beatles and Bird)! It also brought up some terrific memories of when LB showed me the desk in his studio in Fairfield CT. where he composed Chichester.
I loved working with the fabulously talented Maestro Angel Gil-Ordóñez and the students in the Georgetown University Orchestra in a performance of my “The First Step Of the Journey” (an excerpt from my new orchestral piece) in conjunction with the Benoy Behl exhibition opening at the Spagnuolo Gallery. Expressly written for the students of the Georgetown University Orchestra. The commission was the idea of Music Director Maestro Gil-Ordonez. Thanks to the Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts for their support (that’s you Maya Roth and Anna Celenza!).
Joel offers a clear-eyed assessment of The Beatles’ work and career as they developed from a local cover band to arguably some of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Seen from the unique perspective of a composer, Joel focuses on the key differentiator that sets the band apart: its creative output. History, analysis, influences, outtakes, technology. It’s all there.