Max V. Mathews (1926-2011)

I was very sad to read on the Csound mailing list that Max Mathews passed away this morning.  It is hard to imagine how computer music today would be without his pioneering work in creating the first computer music software and work with composers and others. His contributions are truly immeasurable.

Beyond the work he contributed, he was a truly inspiring with his joy and passion for computer music.  I don’t believe I have ever met Max Mathews in person, though I was at a number of events where he was featured in some way or another (a fond memory is from last year’s Bohlen-Pierce Symposium, seeing Max on the big screen performing and giving talks over Skype…).  I always got the impression that he was a person of great character, passion, and joy…

From the people I’ve known who have known him personally, Max seems like someone who truly gave a lot of himself to others.  I will always have nothing but kind words to say about him, and if that is any barometer by which to measure a man’s life, then I would say he was as successful a human being in life as one could be. I will certainly miss his presence in this world, and hope only to be able to learn from his great work and life and maybe be a better person for it.

Prelude to Spring

This morning was beautiful.  Waking up to brilliant light always sets a good tone for a day… I took a nice walk this morning to get coffee, listening to synth pop on the way and back.  I’ve started to take more walks in the morning and have found that it has be great for me, giving me time to listen to music, to think, to move, to immerse myself in contemplation.

The morning light was temporary though, and now the sky is gray and there is a light drizzle of rain.  The temperature is still in the 30’s but the days are getting noticeably longer and longer.  A lovely morning, a brief prelude to Spring…

Nixon in China in Toronto

Lisa and I just saw a performance of Nixon in China by the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto: Amazing!  The performance as a whole was very strong, with the stand out moments being:

  • Madame Mao’s Aria at the end of the 2nd act – Marisol Montalvo’s performance was stunning, and I think for me the most enraptured moment of the night
  • The ensemble singing of the 3rd act – stunning precision and clarity by Madame Mao’s and Pat Nixon’s characters
  • Pat Nixon’s scenes in the 2nd act – Maria Kanyova performed it beautifully in singing and acting, a wonderful scene
  • Chou En-Lai’s aria in the 3rd act – Chen Ye-Yuan‘s singing was impressive throughout, with this precious meditation being extremely memorable

I really loved the staging of this opera with its period footage from Nixon’s visit via the use of televisions, the lighting, costumes, etc.  It really reminded me of the many wonderful productions of operas I saw in San Francisco during Pamela Rosenberg’s tenure there. Just perfect.

This was our first time attending a performance at the Four Seasons Centre and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I loved the hall’s design throughout, and really enjoyed the intimacy of the smaller stage and hall.  I will be looking forward to the next time I have a chance to attend a performance here!

Farewell Henryk Gorecki

I woke up this morning to read the sad news that Gorecki has passed away (NYTimes Article). I remember when Symphony No.3 became extremely popular in the 90’s and having quite a fantastic experience listening to it while driving down Riverside Drive on my way back to school.  A beautiful day, listening to the 1st movement at full volume, driving through fall colors…

I had read a book on Gorecki around that time, and it was his description of going to his composition lessons on a train and seeing the Polish countryside that originally seeded the desire to visit Poland. A few years later I managed to make my first trip to Poland, staying on my own for seven weeks in Krakow, one of the most fruitful experiences in my life.

I also remember an amazing concert of Miserere at the Warsaw Autumn in 2006.  In a church in Nowy Miasto, I remember an issue that they wouldn’t be singing it but then they ended up doing so and it was just wonderful.  The acoustics of the room with the delay of the sounds that came strongly from up above was excellent.

I am sad to hear Gorecki has passed away.  I have and continue to enjoy his music from his avant-garde days to today, and will I know I will continue to listen and think about his music and his life well into the future.

Birds in the Sky

I watched a group of birds flying high up in the sky and for a brief moment I felt free from all my burdens. The sky is a rich hue of blue and without a cloud in sight. The light is full though the day is cold and winter will soon be here.

The moment was certainly a gift, as was the morning’s brief meditation. I felt–if even for just a few moments–again connected with both a part of my self and with the world. I will be thinking about these moments throughout the day.

The Audio Programming Book – Ed. Boulanger, Lazzarini

I was very excited to hear today that “The Audio Programming Book” edited by Richard Boulanger and Victor Lazzarini is now available for pre-order!

This book has certainly been a long time in the making, and I’m very proud to have been a contributor of two chapters (one in print, “Modeling Orchestral Composition”, and one on the DVD, “Developing Music Software Interfaces”).  I also would like to thank Dr. B and Victor for their amazing work as editors, as well as the other authors for contributing such wonderful material.  I am excited that the book will be available soon and hope that the contributions I made as well as those of my fellow contributors help out those working to understand and get into audio programming!

Tai Chi Camp 2010

Today we completed yet another amazing Tai Chi camp with our teacher Lenzie Williams at Walker Creek Ranch in Petaluma, CA.  Now that we live across the country, I think I noticed the golden hills of California even more this year.  The ranch was extremely beautiful.

I found myself a bit drained going into this year’s camp.  The work we did at camp and the fellowship amongst such wonderful Tai Chi practitioners was absolutely rejuvenating.  I certainly feel much more receptive and curious as well as inspired, and look forward to taking this wonderful energy forward into my daily life back in Rochester.

The Tai Chi work was also excellent.  It is always amazing to get to study with Lenzie and this camp was as fruitful as ever.  I enjoyed being able to focus on Tai Chi this week and hope to take the many experiences and things and keep going with them.

I’m extremely happy to have gotten to see my old Tai Chi family and meet new members of the family too.  I will value the memories from the past week and and look forward to seeing how life unfolds ahead!

A Peaceful Morning Walk

This morning I awoke with the brilliant light of the sun coming through the window.  It was strange to see such bright light as it it has been quite some time since I last remember experiencing it like this.  I think I will always associate this kind of intense sun and deeply rich blue skies with California…

Out of coffee at home, I walked across the street and picked up a coffee and sat outside briefly just to sit and take in the sun. The temperature was cool but refreshing and paired nicely with the warm light.  Wanting to move a little bit before having to start work, I decided to take a small, slow walk around the block before returning home to start my work day.

Walking slowly, the gentle breeze was a stark contrast to the gusting winds of the weekend.  The leaves and the grass were a a vivid green.  It was very a very peaceful morning walk.

thoughts and experiences