spent the summer of 1977 in Hollywood as a summer apprentice at United Artists
Records, very far removed from the composition department of Cornell University
where I was an undergraduate at the time. During this internship I not only
reviewed unsolicited tapes of rock bands, but I also alphabetized files for
every department of the company, learning about the music industry as I spent
time in each office.
fascinated by this little peek into the pop music industry, I missed being
around classical music and was fortunate that the nearby Santa Monica Civic
Symphony needed a 3rd Horn badly enough to let me sit in with my alto saxophone
for the summer. I was also fortunate that music director Frank Fetta generously
offered me a reading session of anything I composed during my brief stay. Unlike
most volunteer orchestras, the strings were stronger than the winds that summer,
so I decided to write a string piece. Inspired
by the many performances I'd heard of Barber's Adagio that were very
well-played for the first few minutes, then uncomfortable at the high-position
climax, I wrote a slow introspective work that could be played well by student
and volunteer ensembles.
first performance of Lamentations was as a string quartet at my senior
recital at Cornell in April 1978. The
first full string orchestra performance was by the Transylvania Youth Orchestra
at the Brevard Music Center in August 1978, conducted by Mario Mancinelli. The first professional performance was by the Concerto Soloists of
Philadelphia conducted by Marc Mostovoy on February 4, 1985.