The Myth of the Transformative Arts Experience

For a long, long time (as in, literally, months now), I’ve been meaning to respond to an essay by Philadelphia’s Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer lamenting what he sees as “the greatest sacrifice arts workers make” – the inability to recapture one’s first, “innocent” experiences of the arts, the ones that presumably convinced the personRead More

Flashback: Drum Cells


Since a lot of people taking the survey didn’t know what the “Flashback series” was, here’s a little refresher: every so often, I like to post an audio clip here to remind people (and myself, I suppose) that I once was and may be again a composer of musical compositions and impresario of artistic endeavors.Read More

Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

This video has been making the rounds for the past week or so. Eric Whitacre, for those of you who don’t know, is a rockstar choral composer who has made a killing for himself by focusing not on professional or established community choirs, but rather the high school and college circuit. His works are accessibleRead More

Flashback: Miniatures for Violin and Marimba

In 2005, a violinist friend of mine approached me and asked if I would write a piece for her duo with percussionist Svet Stoyanov. Of course I said yes, and the result was a set of three little pieces for two instruments of very different sizes. Here’s the third movement, as performed at its premiereRead More

Flashback: Press Play!

In April 2007, my experimental rock band/electric chamber ensemble Capital M had its second (and last) annual World Premieres Extravaganza at the now-defunct Tonic on New York’s Lower East Side. We opened with a performance of composer Ian Dicke’s Press Play!, a really cool composition fusing rock, jazz, and classical idioms just about as authenticallyRead More

Flashback: Narciso

In 2002, just after graduating from college, I moved to Philadelphia to pursue a dual career in arts administration and composing. While holding down a couple of part-time jobs involving many file folders and mailing labels, I quickly set to work on a new choral piece, a setting of Federico García Lorca’s poem “Narciso.” IRead More

Flashback: Reinventing the Wheel

This blog has a lot of new subscribers who have joined us in the past few months (actually, since February the readership has grown by a factor of 12), and it occurred to me that many folks may not realize that my interest in arts policy and arts management stems, more than anything else, fromRead More

Around the horn: Bake sale edition

Last weekend, I visited NYC and checked out some new music concerts for the first time in a while. The first, on Friday night, was the first-ever New Music Bake Sale presented by Newspeak and Ensemble de Sade, a raucous affair with five hours of music, well over a hundred attendees, tables for different organizationsRead More