Composing “Point Reyes from Chimney Rock”

Tom Killion, Point Reyes from Chimney Rock, 2011

Tom Killion, Point Reyes from Chimney Rock, 2011. Woodblock print. Courtesy of the artist.

My orchestral tone poem Point Reyes from Chimney Rock takes its title and inspiration from a woodblock print (above) by contemporary artist Tom Killion. This work reflects on a coastal landscape in Point Reyes National Seashore in the San Francisco Bay Area (where I was born and raised). It was commissioned by the NYU Symphony and premiered at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City on March 3, 2014.

In the following reflection, I share some of what went into the creation this piece. My intention is certainly not to dictate how to listen to my music—you are free to form your own conclusions and derive your own meaning from it!—but to hopefully illuminate the compositional process, both for laypeople and for other composers who may be interested in how I approached writing music inspired by a landscape. Continue reading

Why I started LandscapeMusic.org

I’ve composed many works of music inspired by paintings and drawings of landscapes by artists from Thomas Cole to Georgia O’Keeffe. I’ve gradually been writing more and more works inspired by my direct experiences of nature, parallel our with and/or unrelated to interpretations by visual artists. I’ve come to realize that what I’ve Metal- been striving to achieve is the sonic equivalent of what visual artists accomplish with landscape art. I coined the term “Landscape Music” to communicate this wholesale nba jerseys ideal and philosophy.

At the same time, I’ve noticed several other composers who have been approaching a similar ideal from different aesthetic angles or perspectives. With the creation of this website, I seek to investigate work being done in this vein and to explore commonalities, divergences, exciting new developments, unexplored potentials, and possibly to derive some general principles or practices relating to this idea of musical landscapes.

Music inspired by nature, in my view, should never be taken as cheap mlb jerseys an objective representation of the natural world through sound, or even a way to concretely evoke a world beyond human experience. I argue instead cheap nba jerseys that the creation of music inspired by nature is an inherently humanistic act that simultaneously affirms the intrinsic value and importance of the non-human natural world to the human experience.

The perception that a particular important melody played on the flute signifies or “captures” the experience of sunlight ano? filtering through the leaves of a tree, for example, inevitably has far more to do with the composer and/or the listener than it does with sunlight or trees themselves. This does not devalue Custom the flute melody, however: a musical idea can be a conduit for communicating, understanding, and encapsulating human experiences of the natural world.

Because of my own background, and an awareness of the established tradition of music inspired by landscapes in Western classical music, this publication will inherently be biased towards music created by “composers” within the tradition of “classical,” “concert music,” or “New Music.” That said, I hope this website will encompass music cheap jerseys created within other genres and perspectives (jazz, rock, pop, “folk” music, musical traditions cheap nfl jerseys from other regions of the world, etc) that similarly seek to express experiences of landscape, nature, and sense of place.