In a little wood paneled room at the Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Poland, I had my mind blown.
My teacher, Paweł Łukaszewski (pronounced Pavew Wookashevskee) had a tremendous influence on me.
I studied with him for 1 school year as a post-doc student and Fulbright scholar. I was lucky enough to also be his assistant conductor at the Catholic Cathedral in Warsaw.
That 1 year was worth all 5 years of my grad school experience combined. It was nothing short of amazing.
We spent a great deal of time talking about why we compose, why we should compose, how we should compose, for whom we should compose.
One day early in our time together, he spoke 5 words to me that completely rocked my world.
I had been searching for my "why" as a composer for quite a while, for that internal compass, the mission statement that would ring true and give me long term direction and focus.
In his thick Polish baritone voice he said...
"vWee muust cohmpohzz for Gwahd!"
Boom! ... (pause) ... mushroom cloud of grey matter ...
That was it! It had been staring me in the face for ages, but I couldn't see it. I was too worried about all the fooey of prestige and notoriety and composer-muscle-flexing.
"Evrry note I cohmpohzz ist for Gwahd. My fader vas cohmpohzzer too, and he alzo cohmpohzzed for Gwahd. Thees iz very impohrtant."
Wow, that really shook me to the core. I still get the tingles thinking about it now, 6 years later.
I spent the year hanging out with him, performing with him, composing with him and for his choir, going to concerts with him, sining in Mass with him, participating in his life as the foremost composer of sacred music in Poland.
His mantra has become mine.
My new book, 'Sacred Airs' for Wind and Brass instruments is filled with hymn arrangements that were composed to bring the listeners and the players closer to God.
How? That's a long discussion.
In a nutshell, I combine the quality of great classical chamber music together with deep testimonial expression to try and achieve this lofty goal.
They'll be available in just a few days.
Click the link below to sign up for my VIP, 25% discount off your copy of these arrangements.