Hey Mom! I’m on a CD!
I first met Lydia Van Dreel going into my third year of a ridiculously long Master’s program at the University of Oregon. I was deeply depressed about my situation with composing; I had accepted a shitty offer from the school, because all the other schools I’d applied to had turned me down. I was the bottom of the barrel (at least in terms of financial offers!) at Oregon, hemorrhaging money into the student loan system. After terrible experiences playing my horn in undergrad, I was not looking forward to playing again. Lydia reminded me that I really enjoyed music, and got me sounding the best on my horn that I’ve ever sounded (scales, arpeggios, long tones, scales, arpeggios, long tones…).
The summer after I finished all of my composition requirements (but still had to hang around for taking piano lessons YET AGAIN), I got to house sit for David Crumb, who had an awesome grand piano in his living room. I camped out there, with Lydia’s Schmidt horn (for those not in the know, they have a kind of cult following, or at the very least a notoriety amongst horn players as being beautiful sounding, but crazy temperamental and all-but-impossible to hold!), and wrote a 37-minute trio for violin, horn, and piano. It was very un-Jason: romantic, conservative, and devoid of irony. While I don’t think I’d write this piece again, it opened a lot of emotional doors, and was one of the few pieces I’ve written with no gimmicks. I still don’t think 37 minutes was enough time to express how grateful I am to Lyd for pulling me out of a deep well back then. Thanks!