Hail, Fredonia!

Notes for a talk I’m giving at SUNY Fredonia this afternoon.

ThomasMerton_1Thomas Merton, 1915-1968

  • Catholic writer and mystic
  • Trappist monk
  • Poet, social activist, student of comparative religion

thomas merton dalai lama

Retreat at St. Gregory’s

Monastic spiritual practice: not always relaxing:

Psalm 137:7-9
Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

A Book of Hours: Merton’s writings arranged into readings/prayers for four times of day: Dawn, Day, Dusk, Dark

Tuesday Dusk: Simple as a Window
Wednesday Dawn: Huge, Unwounding Spirit
Thursday Day: Wild and Crazy Sheep
Saturday Dawn: Wisdom, the Mother of All

Four Memoriales: viola & piano
La Nuit et le Brouillard

Ralph Farris, viola
Raja Rahman, piano

Now, A Wanderer
Beyond the Horizon (text, score part 1, score part 2), from West With the Night, by Beryl Markham)

La Jolla Symphony and Chorus
Juliana Snapper, soprano
David Chase, conductor

30 Days Project
Day 28: Cicadas in Love
Cicada sounds from University of Michigan Museum of Zoology — used by permission

30 Days postcard front

What Career?

University Teaching

  • Tenure Track: nice work if you can get it
  • Adjunct: would you like fries with that A?

My Cobblestone Career

  • Adjunct teaching
  • Private piano lessons (why I stopped)
  • Accompanying: voice students, choirs, music theatre
  • Church music

Day Jobs

  • Music admin, music ed, IT, other skills or trades


  • Can you network/self-promote like a mofo?
  • Collaboration: performers, conductors, visual artists, writers

Marry Rich

  • Kidding not kidding: you need health insurance

My Blog

What New Music?
What is it today?

  • Mandatory parameters?
    – “Originality”
    – Intellectual Rigor
    – Formalism/pre-composition
    – Absolute vs. programmatic
    – Does it have to hurt?
  • What about…
    – Expression
    – Beauty
    – Fun
  • Not either/or, but and, and, and…

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