music

prelude

Check out this tune by David Wise from bramble scramble.

new pieces

Syzygy (2015), written for cello and guitar by our friend Jake Polasky:

interlude

recitals

These were recorded at Peabody:

Stuff Lauren did that I love

A guitar story

My parents bought me a 1996 Ibanez Rx series stratocaster for Christmas 1998. I upgraded it in 1999 with a Duncan humbucker from Andrew. It’s now sitting on my repair bench. In high school, Zack, Josh, Glenn, Mike, Corey, Andrew and I formed a death metal/emo band called Town Pasture. Influenced by some mix of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Sonata Arctica, Children of Bodom, and AFI, we played in some real dingy venues in Sayreville and Montclair and only ever had a handful of fans.

In a parallel thread, in 2001, with some dough I earned working HVAC for Gary Frost in Hazlet, I bought a cheap Yamaha classical guitar that I’m almost certain was made of plywood. I learned Sabicas and Carlos Montoya from Michael Newman at Musician’s Workshop in Freehold, then Bach and Villa-Lobos from Alice Artzt in Princeton.

My parents really supported my obscure obsession with guitar music. Maureen, the patron saint of yorkies, drove me to Freehold, studying for her bachelors in nursing while waiting in the car. Jim took me to Princeton and spent the hour at Labyrinth Books.

In 2005, thanks to my parents’ largesse, I got to go to Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, where I met Lauren, and I have lived in the area ever since. I delved deeper into the wonderful world of classical guitar thanks to my teachers, not only Ray Chester but also Julian Gray and Manuel Barrueco, and made some fun pals along the way: Cengiz, Paul, Albert, Maud, Pat, Dave, Gohar, Tim, Lyle, and Artem.

The late 2000s were interesting years to study music, to say the least. Many of us took different paths after graduating. In 2010, I got a 9-5 job, then left in 2017 to pursue a PhD. Not a whole lot happened over those years since I needed to fix my guitar, but I did do a few memorable projects, especially with Lauren and Charlie. In 2019, I fixed my guitar! Or, rather, the good folks at Old Town Lutherie did. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with DADGAD tuning in the style of Pierre Bensusan and Tom Long. Every December, I try to learn Miguel Llobet’s Catalan Folk Songs, written about a century ago.