Commission Music

Commission Music
Bespoke Noise!!

Monday, 6 January 2003

Statement of purpose -- Wesleyan

When I was in high school, I had to decide between pursuing a career in computer programming or in professional tuba playing. On the advice of my tuba teacher, I chose computer science. In college, finished all the requirements for my major by my junior year, so I took music classes and got interested in composition. I graduated with two majors.

I started a professional career in computer programming, the plan I chose for economic reasons. It wasn't long before I realized that studying computer science is interesting, but day-to-day programming is not. I had a hard time fitting in the culture of Silicon Valley. When I got laid off in 2001, I considered making a career change to music, but as a composer, rather than as a tuba player.

Last spring I attended the Composing a Career Conference sponsored by the Women's Philharmonic. Almost everyone else there had a masters degree and the presenters all assumed they were speaking to a masters-level audience. Realizing I needed more education, I started looking into graduate programs. Yours caught my interest because of your faculty, especially Alvin Lucier whose music I greatly admire and who has been one of my influences.

In the spring of 2001, I collaborated on an installation in the Exploratorium (a hands-on science museum in San Francisco) based on Lucier's piece I am Sitting in a Room. I've used similar decay loops, based on Lucier's piece, for other pieces of music and will sometimes annoy my neighbors by setting up my computer to run such a delay loop until it finds the resonant frequency of the building and starts to shake the walls.

Lucier's approaches to music are fascinating and appeal to my engineering background as well as my musical background. I know I could greatly professionally benefit by studying with him. I think my engineering and musical background is a good match.

I've heard many excellent things about your school. One of your alums, Judy Dunaway, encouraged me to apply. I hope you will consider me for your program.

Weak ending. Any feedback to this draft is highly encouraged. Too kiss-upy? Lucier is like a god or something, for real. When I did that thing at the Exploritorium, we also put contact micorphones on a bunch of the exhibits and amplified them. A guy on another project came by and ironically said, "Ah, so I see you're a little influenced by Lucier." The alum I mention was his personal assistant or something. I just sent her email today, since she told me to talk to her before applying.

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