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Deep questions energize me.


I have been engaged with philosophical questions since my high-school days. As a composer I'm concerned with aesthetics and the philosophy of art. What makes a work of art touch a person? What makes it successful, or not?

Portrait of Plato from Raphael's painting "School of Athens"
Portrait of Baruch Spinoza
Photo of Ludwig Wittgenstein in Swansea, summer 1947, taken by Ben Richards

Three major philosophical influences: Plato, Spinoza, and Wittgenstein. As a teenager I got hooked on Plato's Dialogues. 

Book cover for "Samuel Beckett: A Critical Study" by Hugh Kenner
Book cover for "The ABC of Reading" by Ezra Pound
Book cover for "Questions abou Music" by Roger Sessions

Some of the books that triggered and fed my interest in aesthetics.

As an undergraduate at Columbia University I wrote some analyses of particular novels and musical works. More recently, an aesthetic of rising and falling tension has informed my application of storytelling principles to computer software. Of course, it also informs my film script.

My fascination with the nature of thought and knowledge drew me to study logic at Oxford (Linacre College), where I received my doctorate.

I've taught a couple of courses on Spinoza at the Washington Jewish Study Center, and I participate in the Washington Spinoza Society, which grew out of the second of those courses.

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