As far as I know, the first time I sat down at a piano, I was five years old. The piano was an antique, probably found in a barn somewhere, haggled over and purchased for a song by my father, and brought home with no small amount of pride in what a good bargain-hunter he was – it was one of his quirks. This piano was, as it would turn out, a very good bargain indeed, for despite the beige-bordering-on-pink paint job, beneath the surface, it was a sturdy cast-iron behemoth, a straight-strung tall concert upright (made by the now-defunct Bell Piano Company, in Guelph Ontario, in around 1910) that, to this day, rings with a clear, rich tone that I’ve never found in another upright. My children now play it as well as I ever did.
That piano, then, for the five year old me, experimentally plinking out notes on the keyboard, was a doorway to a world of music that would change my life. I would spend the next 14 years in piano lessons, followed by study at the Royal Conservatory of Music in performance, theory and composition, studying under Alma Pick. In high school, I also studied clarinet and saxophone, and played in the school band. By the time I was ready to enter university, my dilemma was whether to pursue a degree in music, or my other love, computers. My mother pointed out (quite rightly) that there were better prospects with computers, so I decided on that direction. But music wasn’t done with me, not by a long shot. While at university, I played in a few bar bands, combining my computer degree with music by way of electronic keyboards. Even into adulthood, when I started my own software company, which took up every waking moment of my life (building it over the course of 20 years from 2 employees to over 500), I would retreat to the world of music as often as time permitted, to relax, unwind, and keep in touch with my creative muse. I also continued to write and study composition, under the tutelage of Michel Rochon.
Fast-forward to a little over two years ago, in 2012, when it became apparent that my company had grown to a point that it no longer needed my daily care & feeding, and I was drawn back into the world of music composition – but this time, with the added capabilities of a new set of computer tools, that enable me to combine my two passions in a somewhat unique way. Typically, composers who work with computers use excellent programs like Sibelius or Finale to write the score first. I work in the opposite direction, capturing the performance on keyboard of each instrument in the orchestra individually using Logic Pro, and then create the score from the performance. It is a painstaking process, but one which produces an end result that sounds like a live performance (which, in a way, it is), and to all but the most discerning ear, is almost indistinguishable from an actual orchestral performance.
The realistic quality of the resulting sound is what makes my work of interest to filmmakers and video game designers, especially where budgetary constraints prevent the (much preferred!) use of a live orchestra recording session. And as a bonus, because the written score is produced as a byproduct of my work, taking a composition to the next level by recording it with an actual orchestra is also possible. My background in “real” music theory and composition ensures that everything I write can indeed be played with real instruments, by real musicians.
Thank you for your interest! I urge you to have a look around the site, listen to some compositions, and contact me if there’s anything more you’d like to know!