Welcome! I'm a composer, pianist, and music teacher in Potsdam, NY. Growing up in North Carolina, my first love of music was through pro wrestling entrance music. Seeing my favorite wrestlers make grand entrances accompanied to sounds of an orchestra, I was convinced they composed the music. I began recording myself playing piano pieces, giving mock interviews and short analyses to the camera, mimicking wrestlers I'd heard. Here's me when I was 9:
"...but I'll be doing the whole symphony by myself..."
I started writing music in elementary school, usually songs about my favorite animals. I also made arrangements of music I liked but didn't have the sheet music: classical, movie scores, TV shows, rap songs, video game soundtracks, etc. I asked teachers a lot if I could write songs for projects/assignments and perform in class. My favorite composers to play on piano were Prokofiev and Beethoven.
I later studied music at North Carolina School of the Arts (high school), UNC-Chapel Hill (BM), Duke (PhD), with fellowships from Yale School of Music and Bang on a Can. My doctoral dissertation was a pro wrestling ballet/piano concerto filmed with action figures, an attempt to form a soundtrack for the entire spectacle that made me love music in the first place.
Press play to hear "Hulking up, chair shot," an excerpt from Barbeque Man Unleashed
Recent projects include pop/rap etudes in stacked time signatures, songs about Saturday morning impromptu trips to bird fairs, mental illness and caretaking, Jurassic Park alternate histories, scores for microscopic science films, orchestral, music for children, etc. Years ago I began digitally altering original isolated vocals of popular songs, creating an album of orchestral remixes, American Nachos. Here are a few: One is Journey's Any Way You Want It with a variation from Bach's Goldberg Variations /additional orchestration. Another is a major key orchestral version of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit
Wie du Willst (Journey's Any Way You Want It/ and Bach's Goldberg Variations:1st var.) In 3/4
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
(Remix for Orchestra) - Paul Swartzel
I'm diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and speak publicly about it, using music and humor to try to decrease the stigma of mental illness.