String Quartet No. 1 “Ripples”

I am sixth from the right, in between Gerard Schwartz (right) and Sam Jones (left)

My second piece written for the David Diamond Young Composers Workshop, while I was a senior in high school. For this three-movement work, I had two instructors: Samuel Jones from the Symphony, and Dr. Peter F. Wolf, a local composition teacher and former student of Darius Milhaud whom I had met at the previous workshop’s final performance. After hearing my piece “Rainfire” he offered to give me private composition lessons, which I happily accepted. Part of my preparation involved listening to all six of Bartok’s string quartets, but the most important influence for me was Ravel, whose music I had fallen deeply in love with. I was absolutely devouring his music, whether it was solo pieces like Gaspard de la nuit or Le Tombeau de Couperin; the piano concertos (especially the lush second movement of the concerto in G); the String Quartet in F, with its dazzling pizzicato movement; or the quirky Sonata for violin and cello.