My go-to classical composer is Claude Debussy, creator of an astonishing variety of color, light and shade, atmosphere and depth of possibilities for painting. His music sounds to me like nature feels. I always have at least one Debussy-inspired painting "in the works" in the studio.
JAZZ and Jazz Fusion
Jazz music is a wide, wide palette of sonic possibility and perfect for reflective interpretation. It seems like a shot of pure brilliance and color. Whether Big Band or contemporary jazz or improvisation, or the club greats, its all rich material. My favorite jazz composers are Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Count Basie, and of course I love swing music of all kinds.
Chopin's Etudes (Studies) are famously difficult to play and ravishingly beautiful to hear. The musical form of an étude is short and brilliant. I tried to capture the combination of quiet lyricism and sudden drama that are features of these miniature masterworks. The scale of the paintings is also smaller in keeping with the concept of a "study". Rieko Aizawa can be seen playing a Chopin Nocturne with the painting behind her.
DREAMS & PRAYERS
This exhibition was created for the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art. I created paintings inspired by early recordings of cantorial masterpieces (singing of prayers) from the Jewish High Holy Days. The paintings respond to the deeply expressed emotion of the great 19th c. Ukrainian and French cantors. I also interpreted contemporary musical works by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov, who references many of the traditional prayers in his music for string quartet.
The Koten Engei series is inspired by a concept, derived from the Ukiyo-E 19 c. "Floating World" of the emperor of Japan. "Koten Engei" (which means literally, potted plant) refers to the gardens the emperor brought along as he moved his court along the Tokkaido Road. I love the idea of containerized gardens in motion, and also the thought of each small plant as part of a much larger garden continuum. (See my Blog for upcoming Koten Engei works)