Composing is a Lonely Business

I just finished a little work called “through and out,” written especially for Lan Tung on erhu and Rachel Gauntlett on cello.  The erhu is a 2-string Chinese fiddle, with lots of emotive potential.  I’ve been a bit infatuated with it since I first heard it live some years ago by George Gao with the Calgary Philharmonic.  To  have the chance to combine it with my long-standing cello-love was really too good to be true.    Composing the work, which conveys a sort of emotional catharsis,  took me in some new directions, and I can’t wait to work with the performers on it at the Montreal Contemporary Music Lab, coming up on June 18-23, with the performance on June 22, 7:30 PM at Café l’Artère in Montreal.  

The last time I was in Montreal was 10 years ago when I was a flutist touring with the National Band of the Naval Reserve, and I think I’ve learned to get even more out of my experiences since then, so I’m really looking forward to exploring the city again.  Not to mention connecting with the other composers and musicians, at the workshop!  Composing is a normally such a lonely business; opportunities like this are rare things to jump on, for me anyway.

Which reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s “Death is a Lonely Business,” which brings me right back to sadnesses similar to those I tried to evoke in piece, with Bradbury passing away just yesterday.   How can one properly mourn the death of a favorite writer, the loss to the world of a great thinker and true original?  Perhaps one can only hope to honor him by having his inspiration live on:

“Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.” (from

Live forever, Ray Bradbury!  And may we all “write every day” and never stop.