Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Happy New Year – Favorites of 2022!

A list of random favorites from 2022!

Favorite Book: Confronting Silence by Toru Takemitsu (I read this almost every year)

Favorite Espresso: Sleeping Monk, Cannon Beach, Oregon & Kaha Coffee, Amesbury, Mass

Favorite Coffee Drink: Cortado

Favorite Cheese Shop: Formaggio Kitchen

Favorite Concert Halls: Tie: Little Bridges at Pomona College and Ruby G. Schulman Auditorium, Carlsbad

Favorite Croissants: Ma France, Lexington, MA • Lofty Coffee Company, Encinitas, CA

Favorite Tacos: Aria Korean Street Food, Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

Favorite Day: Tie: Birthday and Performing

Favorite Ornaments: Bach’s Little Prelude in C Minor, BWV 934, B sections SPOTIFY

Favorite Duos with Guitar: 3 Vintage Portraits by Antonio Celso Ribeiro for viola and guitar YOUTUBE

Favorite Guitar Strings: Hannabach, Trebles: Exclusive • Bass: 900 Silver 200

Favorite Headphones: Grado, Brooklyn, NY

Favorite Home Espresso Maker: La Pavoni, pictured 1984 Professional

Least Bad Airlines: Alaska, JetBlue, United: each allows guitars on board.

Favorite Fugue on Guitar: “Fiddle” Fugue in A Minor, BWV 539-1000 SPOTIFY

Favorite Day: Practice

Favorite Cut: Fermin Jamon Iberico Bellota

Favorite way to relax: Cathar Yoga

Favorite hand/fingers stretch: 90s

Favorite Coast: East to live, West to visit

Favorite Music Journal: Moleskine Art Music Notebook (out of print?)

Favorite Lesson: Each action and sound reverberates around the world, so let our actions be great and our sounds beautiful.

Favorite Music Discoveries (very limited): Ann Moss, Amanda Gookin, Miguel del Aguila, Andree-Ann Deschenes

Favorite Number: 3.3 million. Streams since November 2021

Favorite John Cage Discovery: Cheap Imitation arranged by Morton Feldman

Favorite video for viola and guitar by a Brazilian composer: Three Vintage Portraits of Exquisite Ladies Expressing Their Frame of Mind by Antonio Celso Ribeiro


Thank you California!

A wonder of gratitude to the people who helped make my 2-weeks in Southern California a great adventure!

There is not enough room for all the pictures and pages could be written about each of the Artists and amazing people I was able to meet and collaborate with. Please see below for links to many of them.

Until the next concert,

Here are some worth checking out in the photos:

Robert and Katherine Bender – Karob Studios

Buzz Gravelle – Cal Poly Pomona faculty and Fretless guitars

Peter Yates – Multi-media Artist, Guitarist, UCLA faculty

Adrienne Albert – Composer

Cellista – Musician & Performance Artist

Tom Flaherty – Composer, Pomona Faculty

Gisel Vincent – Artist


Some picture locations:

Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, La Jolla

Schulman Auditorium, Carlsbad

Tacos on the side of the road, Santa Monica

Lofty Coffee, Encinitas


Book – Glenn Kurtz’s ‘Practicing – A Musicians Return To Music’

I think it was 2008 when I met the writer Glenn Kurtz. Like myself, he was an alumnus of the New England Conservatory and had studied with David Leisner. It was Leisner who recommended Glenn reach out to me.

Reading-Recital in NYC, 2013

Glenn’s book, his first, ‘Practicing – A Musicians Return To Music had just been published by Knopf and he was looking to include a some guitar music during his reading at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge. I agreed on the condition I would receive a signed copy, which I still cherish. In 2013, Glenn and I performed a few reading-recitals together in Boston and New York. We paired excerpts from his books with the matching pieces. A truly unique and wonderful experience, which attendees still ask me about!

‘Practicing – A Musicians Return To Music’ is an exquisite exploration of guitar history and teaching, and gives a nice glimpse of conservatory life from the eyes of a young musician. The personal story is based on his journals from the time and his desire to explore the musical flame that was such an important part of his life for so many years, but which was no longer. The personal trials and feelings of self doubt regarding “the path” of being a young musician are at time heart-wrenching, but they are always real. Though Glenn did not become the next Segovia, and I have no doubt that is completely fine with him, he inspired my saying, “once a guitarist always a guitarist”. Glenn is a beautiful writer and I highly recommend this book to all, guitar lovers or not.

Book Link–>

Have you read the book or heard Glenn read or speak about it? Did it inspire or possibly scare you?

Practicing: A Musician's Return to Music: Kurtz, Glenn: 9780307278753: Books


Book: Effortless Mastery – On Practicing

Dear Guitarists and Musicians of all types,

As you are working and thinking about practice, I wanted to share a book I found to be very helpful and inspiring in my musical journey: Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner. I read this in my early 20’s, and it is safe to say it influenced me greatly. It was really the first book, or person for that matter, to introduce methods of how to practice to improve, and not just play the music from beginning to end on repeat.

It isn’t perfect, but it can be a great inspiration to find what works for you.
Happy Improvements!

It’s a good read with helpful tips and concrete ideas. For those who know me, you’ll probably recognize some of the language I use.

Just in case you want to read about something not work related 😊 .

Happy Practicing!

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Book: The Music of John Cage

The Music of John Cage by James Pritchett

The first biography of John Cage!
I read this book in early 2012 as I was starting my journey of arranging Cage’s Six Melodies for violin and guitar. Though many of the ideas were quite new to me, I found the writing accessible and the ideas exhilarating. Many of the concerts I had experienced as a student at the New England Conservatory made much more sense!

Book: • ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

From Amazon: James Pritchett describes just what it was Cage did and why and how he did it. The book is centered around extensive descriptions of the most important works and compositional techniques, including in-depth explanations of the role of chance and indeterminacy in Cage’s music. Dr Pritchett also considers the relationship of Cage’s musical thought to his interests in such diverse subjects as Eastern philosophy and religion, Marshall McLuhan, and anarchism (among many others). This book thus makes the essential introduction to Cage’s musical world.

• Listen to the Podcast ALL THINGS CAGE: Conversation about John Cage. hosted by John Cage Trust director Laura Kuhn. In these episodes Kuhn interviews author James Pritchett.

March 6, 2021
March 8, 2021

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Books: Mysticism of Sound and Music

The Mysticism of Sound and Music: The Sufi Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan

Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927) wrote one of the most influential books on music and sound that I have experienced. Recommended to me when I was an undergraduate by the late New England Conservatory educator/provost and sitar player Peter Row, the book delves into the power of sound as experienced through the Sufism and music of South India. It is not enough for me to say it has had an effect on my approach to music and life. I think of it daily with every tuning of my strings. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️