"Your son has excellent grades, but he's driving me crazy."
I had been absentmindedly tapping my pencil on my desk at kindergarten so much that my teacher called in my mother to beg her to get me to stop. My mother was not terribly surprised. Nor did she seeem surprised when I created a pots-and-pans gamelan on the kitchen floor, or filled all the drinking glasses in the house to different levels and tapped them with spoons.
Some years later, my mother was listening to orchestral excerpts from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. She read me the composer's life story from the back of the record, and I was astonished. I had never before envisioned a person sitting down and actually writing music for a hundred people to play together. I wondered if I could learn to do that.
The years that followed found me eagerly studying music and playing in a number of orchestras and rock bands. I was writing music for piano out of my poor ability to read existing material. I went to the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington DC, and learned theory, counterpoint, and orchestration, and started writing for larger ensembles. At 16, I conducted the D.C. Youth Orchestra in a performance of my first symphony. Later, I attended the Oberlin Conservatory and studied Composition and Music & Technology.
Nowadays, I write a lot less for performing musicians and do a lot more studio work, mixing together everything I've learned from my experience with classical, avant garde, rock, and electronic music. I'm not always sure what genre I'm writing in. I just pick what notes and textures work for me at that moment, and go with it. My current passions include chess, programming, lucid dreaming, the Chapman Stick, and my lovely wife.