Music is something I love perhaps more than anything. I play the piano, harpsichord, clavichord, and reed organ (aka pump organ/aka harmonium). I also have a theremin, which is so difficult to play. Maybe more will come in the future. I have a lot of ambitions...
I have a penchant for creative singer-songwriters and groundbreaking rockers. My favourite chanteuses are (in no particular order) Björk, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, St. Vincent, Fiona Apple, Alison Goldfrapp, Madonna, Siouxsie Sioux, Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin... My favourite band on earth is Radiohead. Led Zeppelin is simply out of this world and Battles tickles my sonic nerve in ways I never knew possible. I also like Portishead, Atoms for Peace, Hooverphonic, Bauhaus, Modeselektor, OK Go, Grizzly Bear, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Flying Lotus, Ultraísta, Mazzy Star, Jane's Addiction, David Bowie, Steely Dan, The Doors, and of course The Beatles. There's lots of dubstep on my playlist thanks to Thom Yorke (whose music I also love). And in another corner entirely is Spanish flamenco music (and dance), which transports me to another place.
I love classical music. I play the piano, so naturally my favorite composers are those who wrote piano music I like, particularly Chopin, Satie, Debussy, Scriabin, Schubert, and Liszt. I also play the harpsichord and clavichord and I enjoy the keyboard music of Bach, Couperin, Rameau, and Scarlatti... as long as it's played on the original instrument (not the piano). I am a harpsichord purist in that regard, and I've been teased for it. And for film scores, I love The Piano (Michael Nyman) and I think Wojciech Kilar's score for Bram Stoker's Dracula is just about the coolest piece ever written. Other favorite film composers include Bruno Nicolai and Philippe D'Aram; I have transcribed for piano their scores from Count Dracula and Fascination. I think John Williams is so gifted, I like Dario Marianelli, and Jonny Greenwood is a genius. Symphonic favorites include mostly the great French and Russian Romantics.
And now for my music. What I am best known for, and what prompted me to relaunch my website, is my piano transcription of the aforementioned soundtrack of Bram Stoker's Dracula by Wojciech Kilar. The Coppola version stands among my favorite vampire films, and one of the best parts about it is the score. Some time ago I gradually became obsessed with this music. I always wanted to play it on the piano, but could never find a written score, even for orchestra. So around 1999 I decided to transcribe the piece myself. I have no experience in transcription, but I love the score so much I just had to figure it out! It took hours and days of tedious work listening to the orchestral soundtrack CD, pausing after a few seconds, arranging it for piano and writing it down, listening again, etc.... A labor of love. I adapted the music as a six-movement suite (Dracula: The Beginning; Vampire Hunters; Lucy's Party; The Brides; The Storm; Mina/Dracula).
It has long been my dream to make a proper video recording of this suite. My idea is to have a decorated set similar to the scene in the film where Dracula and Mina are dancing amongst many candles. I would like to wear a replica of her red victorian dress, and have the piece filmed from various angles with dramatic lighting. I have set up an online fundraiser. If you are able to help, please go here. (You can also find the sheet music on that page. Lots of people have asked for that!)
In the meantime, I have made some home video recordings of my transcription. It's far from ideal, but it's better than nothing. A couple of bonus videos... The first video was made several years before the others and has over 14,000 views! Next a video where I explain the transcription process and talk about my vision for a professional music video. Then you get to the actual music videos; one has over 24,000 views! That boggles my mind to have so many people enjoying my work. To view them all on YouTube with more information and in a larger size, click the video titles.
My second major transcription was Il Conte Dracula (Count Dracula) by Bruno Nicolai. For some reason I just love transcribing horror movie soundtracks! This one was special because Soledad Miranda was in the film. I transcribed the music as a suite with six movements (Processo; Visionario; Sparviero; Nottole; Fiamma Mortale; Viaggio Sotteraneo).
My third major transcription was Fascination by Philippe D'Aram, another vampire movie. I transcribed the music as a suite with three movements (Fascination; La valse fascinante; L'amour des deux filles).
A couple of fun transcriptions I have also done are pieces by one of my favorite bands, Battles. First was a harpsichord transcription of Hi/Lo. Then I did a piano transcription of Hiro 3. As I know the members of Battles, they have commented to me on my efforts. The feedback was positive!
I love playing Satie most of all classical composers. It's so much fun! One of my long-term goals is to record my favorite pieces for friends and family. I'm getting recording equipment and that's why I bought a new (used) piano! Anyway, a good while back I recorded some Satie pieces and, in an attempt to share his humor, I added subtitles with the running commentary he wrote on the score (Satie intended it to be for the pianist's amusement only, an inside joke). Here are a few of those pieces.
When I was in a burlesque group I performed a routine singing Madonna's "Hanky Panky".
In 2006 an acting colleague of mine asked me to compose a piano intro for a song by his heavy metal band (!), Long Tooth Clan. I wrote and recorded the piano music for Off to the Fields and it was mixed with the band's recording. You can listen to my first job as a recording artist here.
Finally, since I love music so much, here are some music stars I have met (some several times). They include Tori Amos, Thom Yorke, Battles, OK Go, Flying Lotus, Steven Drozd, Van Cliburn, Olga Kern, and Jon Nakamatsu. I worked for the Van Cliburn Foundation for 8 years so I got to know a lot of the musicians performing in their programs. I'm lucky enough to have met several of my favorite rock guitarists such as Jonny Greenwood, PJ Harvey, and Steven Drozd*. Alas, if only Jimmy Page, St. Vincent, or Dave Navarro were on that list! (*The Flaming Lips used to be my second-favorite band after Radiohead, and their live shows were some of the highlights of my 30s. However, their lead singer became an @$$hole and I was sorry I'd ever hung out with him. They say never meet your heroes, I guess sometimes that is true. I cut the band completely out of my life after that. Makes me sad sometimes because of how much I loved them, their music, and the community of fans.)