HOMETOWN: Randolph, Mass.
OCCUPATION: Professor of music at the University of South Carolina Aiken, where he teaches composition, music theory and percussion
PLAYS: Percussion instruments
FAVORITE CONCERT ATTENDED: Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Mass., 2008. "I saw them do a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. ... I also was able to attend with my son, who's also a musician, and so that makes it special in a couple different ways."
FAVORITE MOVIES: "I love Jack Nicholson movies, Robert De Niro movies and Tom Hanks movies."
MUSICAL ROOTS: "I started taking drum lessons when I was about 12 years old, was always interested in playing the drums. Wasn't involved in public school music, but I did always play in bands as a teenager and into my 20s."
FAVORITE PERFORMANCE OF HIS MUSIC: "One of the highlights was just a couple of years ago. The Prospect Symphony out of Illinois commissioned an orchestral work for me, and then they premiered it in London, so that was a pretty special performance."
SONGWRITING PROCESS: "I write for a wide variety of ensembles, chamber ensembles for both instruments and voices. ... I enjoy writing for orchestra as well. And the process for me is different from piece to piece. All my efforts right now are going into an opera, where you start with the text, the libretto, and I compose melody from the libretto. And then I harmonize that melody and then eventually orchestrate it. ... Writing a piece for orchestra, I may think more about textures and colors and combinations of instruments, etc."
MAJOR INFLUENCES: Beethoven, Eric Copeland, and Bach.