Music I Am #45 – David Claman, Composer

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

It was a gradual process. When I was young I was involved with music as a player and listener, but intended to become a painter. I didn’t begin writing music until my late 20s. I took a composition class almost as a lark, and quickly realized that composing would bring together the creative energy I experienced making visual art with the intensity and enjoyment I felt while playing and listening to music.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

Be supportive of your musician friends and their activities.

Two ways you stay motivated:

I like to “begin again” by doing basic things like tuning my guitar slowly and carefully by ear, with no goal other than hearing the timbres and consonances. Or playing scales, not as “warm up” but in order to feel my hands on the piano keys and experience the qualities of each note when the keys are depressed. 2) I’ll give myself a future goal, like scheduling a concert or booking a recording session.

Latest Project:

I completed a set of art songs for Matthew Curran, bass, accompanied by John McDonald, piano. We premiered them in December in New York and will perform them in Boston in 2024. Tony De Ritis is part of this project too, contributing songs he composed for tenor Greg Zavracky. After a few performances we plan to record an album together.







What inspired it:

The fine musicians I’ve worked with for years, and the wonderful poetry I set by poets Richard Tillinghast, John Haines, and Robert Francis.

Who’s on it:

Matthew Curran, bass voice, and John McDonald, piano.

How do you discover new music?

I get suggestions from friends and find music on Youtube and Spotify.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1410-1497) is an extraordinary composer, known mostly to fans of early music and mentioned in music history classes. Fortunately, opportunities to hearing his music in concert are becoming more common.

Andrew Rangell is a wonderful pianist with a broad and varied catalog. His recording of the Bach Partitas on the Steinway label are refreshing, sensitive, and probing, and my favorite recordings of these pieces.

Where can we find you online?

I have a website and a YouTube channel, and Spotify 

Upcoming Event you’d like to share?

In January and February 2024, I’ll be in India collaborating and recording with Hindustani musician friends in New Delhi. Recordings and videos of the sessions will be released in the summer of 2024.

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