Alternative Classical Piano Performance
I studied piano as a youngster, under the tutlage of Ivan Rouse, the eccentric piano teacher in my home town of Clarkston, Michigan. I practiced and studied music diligently, often neglecting my school work. I was unfortunately born with the genetic defect that causes muscular dystrophy and had to give up the piano when I was 20. Almost as soon as computer technology had developed to the point where alternative inputting for disabled people was available, I got interested in computing. I use a sip and puff switch in conjunction with Morse Code. My initial goal was to do word processing, so I could correspond with relatives and friends. Shortly thereafter I discovered the recording "Lisztronic" by Jeffrey Reid Baker in a CD club offer. In the liner notes, there was quite an extensive article about computers being used for composing and playing music. I knew at that moment that I could use this technology for realizing piano performances from the classical repertoire. After I did some investigating into the software involved I came upon a notation based sequencing program called Music PrinterPlus (no longer available.) A friend who was savy about synthesizers told me to get a Yamaha TG-55 tone module. I upgraded that to 16meg. of Piano samples by Bill Coakley, played with Digidesign SampleCell II. And also began to record the notation sequences onto Performer for the Macintosh, where I could do much more sophisticated editing. I started this endeavor in the summer of 1991, and have been on a steadily upward path since. About two years into the project John Eulenberg, a speech and audiologist professor at Michigan State University heard about me and what I was doing. He beat a path to my door to learn more about my project. He got me in touch with Deborah Moriarty, Professor of piano at MSU. She showed great interest in my work and expressed a desire for me to do some study with her. I got a Yamaha Disklavier upright piano and at last had a real piano to work with. After posting my sequence of the "Pathetique" Sonata on AOL, I heard from a man named Ben Day who does computer animation. Ben asked me if I had done the "Waldstein" Sonata. It just so happened that I had. He wanted to use it in one of his cool animation projects which developed into a sort of choreography of the Rondo of the Waldstein. I found his work very interesting and he mine. Ben was aquainted with Wendy Carlos and wanted her to take a listen to my work. Wendy and I got in touch and she has been very helpful and kind to me with her comments and praise. I gave a recital on a grand Disklavier, last fall to invited guests, at a B&B mansion in Williamston, MI. I was well received according to all accounts.
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