I specialize in music for traditional orchestral instruments and groups, ranging from string quartets, brass ensembles, and other chamber groups to full orchestra.

New Violin Concerto Cover_1This artwork, done by my talented son Dana, was inspired
by a well-known photo of noted violinist Joshua Bell.

Original Musical CompositionsSymphony No. 1 Cover 2_1

As a composer, I have created many traditional concert works, including four string quartets, a piano trio, and other chamber pieces; two symphonies; several concertos (for violin, piano, trumpet, clarinet, French horn, cello, and others), a ballet about the famous historical figure Cleopatra, and choral works, among them a musical tribute to Thomas Jefferson and a theatrical oratorio based on the King Arthur legends.

I have also composed tailor-made works for hire or commission, including incidental music for stage productions, notably a large-scale production of Tolkien’s The Hobbit; a film score for a low-budget version of H.G Wells’s The Time Machine; a children’s musical storybook based on Wells’s War of the Worlds, commissioned by the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Royston Nash; a double concerto for violin, Portuguese guitar, and orchestra commissioned by renowned European guitarist Paulo Soares and leading American violinist Peter Ferreira; and most recently two movements of a four-movement suite for orchestra, titled Cape Cod Impressions, commissioned by the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jung-Ho Pak . The other two movements of the suite were by local Cape Cod composer David M. Cohen. The music was accompanied by a series of stunning photos of the Cape projected onto huge screens on either side of the hall. The piece received standing ovations at each performance and received very favorable reviews in the local media. (For more about my music, including how I became a composer, see the Bio page.)

For Those Who Want Custom Musical Arrangements

String Quartet No. 2 Cover_1

As an arranger, I can not only create appropriate musical settings for new songs, but also interpret existing popular songs for musical groups of any size and makeup.  (Recently, I arranged “Autumn Leaves,” the famous tango “Por Una Cabeza,”  and Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile” for both small and full-sized orchestras.)  This includes arrangements of songs for string quartets and other groups that perform at weddings and other large-scale social and business gatherings.  In addition, I can compose original wedding marches (for any sized ensemble), adding a personalized touch that will make a couple’s special day particularly unique and memorable. Query me at the Contact page about pricing, which will vary according to factors such as the size of the group, the number of separate parts, and the length of the piece. In the case of a wedding march, I will deliver the score to a conductor of your choice, or for an added fee will assemble the musicians and conduct it myself.


Below are assorted sample recordings from 31 of my more than 80 musical works. Some of those works consist of multiple movements or other individual pieces of music, as in the case of a concerto, which traditionally has 3 movements, a symphony, which traditionally has 4 movements, or a collection of 5, 10, or more song arrangements, like those I did for Peter Ferreira’s Amadis Orchestra. Most of  the following samples from works with multiple movements feature only 1 or 2 excerpts from those works. The works and excerpts are presented in chronological order of composition and several are accompanied by brief explanations or commentary. Please note that these are electronic recordings created with the Sibelius musical notation program and GPO (Garritan Personal Orchestra) instrument sounds. Although these sounds, which are digital versions of live recordings of musicians playing notes, do not achieve 100% realism, they do provide a fair approximation of what the pieces sound like when played by actual musicians.

1. Symphony No. 1, 2nd Movement, 1961

4th Movement

As I explain near the start of my Bio page, this was the first large-scale musical work I ever composed. And being only fourteen and without much formal musical training, I did not not yet know proper musical notation. So the piece remained in my head for a few years until I gained the skill to write it down. Although it suffers a bit from my youth and inexperience in those days, along with a tendency to be somewhat derivative at times, I feel it does have its moments. Check out that section of the Bio page for an amusing anecdote about my failed attempt to make a recording of the piece using a trumpet and two old-fashioned tape recorders! (The reason that only the 2nd and 4th movements appear here is that I have not yet had the time to enter the notation for the 1st and 3rd movements into Sibelius, a process that is extremely time-consuming. When I do find the time, I will post them, together with other unrecorded pieces.)

2. Horn Concerto, 1st Movement, 1971

Having learned to play the trumpet when I was young, later, in my twenties, I taught myself to play the French horn, which was not too difficult considering that both instruments employ extremely similar fingering (although the horn is played with the left hand and I’m right-handed). This piece was part of my plan to compose a musical piece for each standard orchestral instrument, featuring that instrument playing solo, with the orchestra or some other ensemble backing it up. I never quite completed that plan, although so far I have managed to do such pieces for all the standard orchestral instruments except for the bassoon, timpani, and double bass.

3. Impromptu on a Theme of Korngold, 1972



This was the first of several pieces I did based on themes composed by some of the great names of the golden age of film music (the 1930s to the 1960s). From an early age I loved their film scores (some more than others, of course) and I’m convinced that I learned a lot about orchestration intuitively by listening to some of their more lush scores. I collected many of these scores on the old long-playing records that I grew up with and still have a fairly big collection of film music (some of it on CDs as well). One of the finest and most celebrated of these composers was Erich Wolfgang Korngold, an Austrian who came to Hollywood in the 1930s and produced a series of classic scores, including The Adventures of Robin Hood, for which he won an Oscar, The Sea Hawk, and one of my all-time favorite scores–King’s Row. In this piece, as in the others I based on film themes, my goal was to take the chosen theme and use it as the basis for a short, original composition intended as an homage to the composer in question. Generally in these pieces, I stated the theme at the beginning more or less as it was heard in the film, proceeded to play with or develop it in my own way, and then restated the theme in some form near the end. Most of these homages are scored for orchestra, but in this one, which is built around Korngold’s main theme to King’s Row, I chose to use a solo piano.

4. Romance on a Love Theme of Steiner, 1974

This is another of my homages to the famous film composers. In this case, I chose a charming love theme by the prolific Max Steiner, well-known for his ground-breaking scores to King Kong (1933) and Gone With the Wind (1939). He also composed the music for numerous other first-rate films of the 1930s and 1940s. The theme in question is from They Died With Their Boots On (1941), a highly over-romanticized yet entertaining epic based on George Armstrong Custer’s exploits. Note that after exploring the love theme a bit, I threw in a quick reference to the famous theme of Custer’s military outfit, the legendary 7th Cavalry, with its characteristic snare drums and flutes. Steiner used that theme in various ways throughout the film.

5.  The Time Machine, Title and Credits, 1976



During the brief period in which I taught high school in the late 1970s, I became involved in the making of a low-budget but highly ambitious feature film version of H.G. Wells’s famous novel The Time Machine. It was made by a super-talented group of high school students. Two of them–the director, Peter Jones, and cinematographer, Nick Falacci–both went on to NYU Film School. Peter later wrote some screenplays with me and co-wrote and co-produced  the black comedy movie Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator, released to the video market in 1990 by Troma Films. Nick went on to become a television writer and producer and co-creator of the successful show Numb3rs, which ran on CBS  from 2005 to 2010. In addition to playing the Time Traveler in the two-hour film, I composed an original score for it that was performed by the local high school orchestra. This excerpt consists of the music heard during the opening credits sequence.

Time Machine Cover 2_1-1

6.  Piano Sonata No. 1, complete, 1976

1st Movement

2nd Movement

3rd Movement


7.  String Quartet No. 1, 4th Movement, 1979

8.  Cleopatra, a ballet in two acts, 1981



Pas de Deux

The Donations of Alexandria

In 1980, I was fortunate enough to have the orchestra and choir of the high school where I was teaching perform excerpts from my oratorio Richard III. Occupying the finale of their big spring  concert, it was a success, and soon afterward I was asked to write incidental music for a huge upcoming production of Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Performed early in 1981, it was also a success and I received many positive remarks about my music. Encouraged, I rapidly composed a  ballet for production by one of the larger ballet companies in the region. By mutual agreement, the subject chosen was the colorful and tragic story of Cleopatra, the famous Greek queen of Ptolemaic Egypt and her love affairs with the Roman generals Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

Of these four excerpts, the overture presents some of the main themes to be heard later in the story, including Cleo’s haunting love theme, introduced here by a solo violin. The movement titled Motherhood depicts her sincere and valiant attempt to raise her children by Caesar and Antony. I tried to use the music to portray the fact that, despite her various political and romantic foibles, she was a good mother. The next excerpt is the Pas de Deux, a standard feature of romantic ballets. Typically, the principal female and male characters dance together, often ending in a picturesque embrace. Musically speaking, this movement exploits the love theme that was first introduced in the Overture. Then comes the Donations of Alexandria. In real life, this was an enormous, spectacular parade that Cleopatra and Antony staged as propaganda–a shout-out and taunt to Rome, which by now Antony had turned his back on. The lovers were sending the message that they, and not their rival, Octavian in Rome, had control of the “East,” that is, Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Anatolia (what is now Turkey). For a visual cue, try to picture Cleopatra’s grand entrance into Rome in the 1963 version of her story, with Elizabeth Taylor in the title role. Only, instead of Cleo appearing on a huge float in the climax, the Donations featured the lovers–Antony and Cleopatra–together on a magnificent moving platform, and their children (and future heirs) on another. At one point earlier in the movement, the orchestra breaks out into a bacchanale, a wild orgiastic dance, which in the ballet is performed by a dozen scantly clad palace “dancing girls,” with some equally half-naked “dancing guys” thrown in! Finally, at the big moment when Cleo and Antony appear, the music modulates into a maestoso, a musical term for a stately, majestic march.

Most of the rest of the movements of the ballet have not yet been transferred from paper to the Sibelius notation program. When I have the time, I will do so and add some of them here.

9.  The Hobbit, Roads Go Ever On, 1981Hobbit



The stage production of The Hobbit  that I mentioned above had well more than a hundred actors and extras and featured spectacular sets and a giant mechanical dragon designed by John Sullivan, the talented artist and art instructor who also directed the show. I wrote the incidental music and rehearsed and conducted the 30-piece pit orchestra. This particular song, “Roads Go Ever On,” was sung by the lead character, Bilbo, and its tune was both his theme and the main theme of the overall score. (I brought it back in a huge flourish in the finale.) I took the lyrics directly from Tolkien’s book, in a passage in which Bilbo whimsically points out that sometimes it is necessary to travel far from home to accomplish some important task, but all the while home beckons and ultimately that is where one belongs–at home with family and friends. Sometime in the near future I’m hoping to make a live recording of this song with an actor-singer. If and when that happens, I’ll post it here in place of this instrumental version. (My son Dana, who is himself a talented artist, did the CD cover at the right, which portrays Bilbo in the dragon’s lair.)

10.  Sextet for Strings, 2nd Movement, 1982


11.  String Quartet No. 2, 1st Movement, 1982


(See the CD cover for this piece near the top of the page. My wife Christine, who is an excellent photographer, took the photo on the island of Santorini in Greece. The water in the distance is the circular bay that formed when the island’s central section collapsed into the sea during the huge eruption of ca. 1620 B.C. For detailed descriptions of this event, its historical prelude and aftermath, and how it inspired the legend of Atlantis, see my books The Minoans and Atlantis.)

(Christine also took this stunning photo for one of my chamber music CDs at the British Museum on one of our London trips.)

Chamber Works

12.  Trumpet Concerto No. 2,
3rd. Movement, 1985

I composed my first trumpet concerto in 1963, when I was sixteen. It seemed only natural for me to do so, since I did play that instrument (although I was never a virtuoso, to be sure). Despite the fact that it was a lively, melodic work, I ended up using most of its themes later in other works for which I felt they were more fitting. So thereafter I considered that piece to be shelved, so to speak. The second trumpet concerto is also tuneful, but is a more mature work and is stylistically quite different, as it incorporates touches of jazz and Latin American rhythms and idioms. The Latin influence is particularly evident in this 3rd movement, the finale, as the drummers produce a strong, driving counterpoint beneath the solo trumpet’s frequent double- and triple-tonguing. In the finale, look for the soloist to break out briefly into a modified jazz riff in an extremely high register, a passage that I could not have played satisfactorily even when my lip was in its best shape. Fortunately, soloists who perform this piece in concert have the proper chops to pull it off!

Jefferson's Altar

I would love to post this piece, which I wrote in honor of my favorite U.S. president, on this page. However, it is scored for a female soloist, male soloist, and large choir, in addition to a full orchestra, and the digital voices that are presently available for making these electronic recordings are not nearly up to the task. Thus, I will need to wait until it is performed live and I have a decent recording of it before I can post it here. Suffice to say that the piece intertwines my rendition of a beloved traditional American patriotic song with some original themes of my own and is one of my personal favorites of all my musical works.

13.  Romance for Piano and Strings, 1988

14.  Clarinet Concerto, 1st Movement, 1989

15. Rhapsody on a Theme of Morricone, 1991

This is still another of the homages I have made to my favorite film composers, in this case the Italian-born Ennio Morricone. He first became famous for his scores to the “spaghetti westerns” that starred Clint Eastwood in the 1960s and later went on to do the music for numerous movies. Among his most beautiful and moving scores are those to The Mission (1986) and Cinema Paradiso (1988). The theme I chose for this piece is from the latter, which is one of my favorite films. I started it off with a straightforward statement of the melody, using a solo piano as the featured instrument, then moved into a spirited central section in the style of a piano concerto, and finally returned to the borrowed theme, building it up to a dramatic climax before the onset of a quiet, melancholy ending.


Piano Works

16.  Piano Trio, 2nd Movement, 1992

3rd Movement

Speaking of melancholy, the second, or middle, movement of my piano trio is built around a plaintive theme that may suggest to the listener a longing for something, perhaps something lost that cannot be regained. Or it may suggest something very different to others. In any case, it isn’t meant to be programmatic, but rather just flowed out of me one day. Please make of it what you will. (For those who are not conversant with the definitions for the various kinds of symphonic formats, a piano trio most often assumes that that instrument will be accompanied by a solo violin and solo cello. However, a composer can choose other instruments if she or he wants to. This trio sticks to the traditional format.) The 3rd and last movement is, per custom, up-tempo and lively. The trio appeared on the CD of piano works pictured here, which I created in 2007.


17. Adagio on a Theme of Walton, 1993

This fourth homage to the great film composers is based on a theme of the great modern English composer William Walton, who did the scores to Laurence Olivier’s Shakespeare films, as well as turned out several wonderful concert pieces, including his monumental first symphony. The theme comes from Walton’s score to the 1948 film Hamlet, which won the Oscar for best motion picture of the year. Basically a dirge in its own right, I thought it would make an effective brief adagio. This was an excellent exercise for me, because, as was the case with all of these homages, I had no access to the original written scores, and did my arrangements based strictly on my memory of how they sounded in the films. This particular piece of Walton’s was musically very complex, with some intricate modern-style harmonies, and it was a challenge to preserve most of them while making the changes I wanted for my adaptation.

(Below, Olivier as Hamlet in his great film; and me as Hamlet at age 18 in a shot I later used for my acting resume.)


Olivier as Hamlet

18. Nocturne in E-flat Major, 1993

A nocturne is a musical piece that back in the Romantic period of Western music was, in theory, thematically suggestive of night. It could be scored for any solo instrument or any group of instruments, but its most common, familiar form came to feature the solo piano. One of my personal favorite keys, E-flat Major, seemed appropriate for this piece because, although it was once used frequently for expressing bombastic, heroic themes, it can also deliver a plaintive, nostalgic quality, as it does here.

19.  Symphony No. 2, 3rd Movement, 1994

For various reasons, including the fact that I was almost constantly busy with all manner of work and creative projects, more than thirty years passed between my first symphony and this one. Finally, in  1994, some thematic ideas that had been floating around in my mind for a long time forced their way to the surface and I simply had to take the time to let them spill out onto score paper.  The title “Olympus” was suggested by a friend who felt that the crystalline, spectral sounds of the second movement evoke a dawn-to-dusk cycle on a remote mountaintop, and that the bombastic fourth movement conjures up the majesty of the realm of the Greek gods atop the heights of Mt. Olympus. In addition, he said, the third movement (presented here) made him envision satyrs, centaurs, and other mischievous, at times macabre mythical creatures furtively prancing and cavorting through the deeply wooded areas blanketing the mountain’s slopes. It is important to emphasize that I had none of this in mind when I composed the music. But I liked his rather creative interpretation, so the nickname “Olympus” stuck. (The photo I used for the CD, pictured below, was taken by Utah engineer and mountaineer Joe Bullough. He was standing atop the Greek Mt. Olympus’s namesake in Utah, which he has climbed some 400 times!)

Symphony #2 cover


20.  Piano Concerto No. 1, 1st Movement, 1995

3rd Movement

In some ways, this piece was a very long time in the making.  The exotic main theme of the first movement came to me when I was very young—around eleven or twelve.  I sensed that it would make a good basis for a large-scale work for piano and orchestra.  But because I knew almost nothing about music notation and orchestration, I filed the theme away in my head for possible future use.  Later, in the mid-1970s, I resurrected it for a one-movement work for piano and orchestra.  Over time, however, I came to feel that that piece did not exploit either the theme or the piano well enough. So I discarded the work.  Finally, in 1995, a more effective way to present the theme became clear, as so often happens to me, in a sudden moment of realization.  And within a couple of days, the major sections of all three movements of a piano concerto were floating around in my head. I have also included the third movement, with its rousing main theme, first stated by the piano after an opening series of horn flourishes and orchestral crashes.


 21.  Double Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra, complete, 1996

1st MovementDouble Concerto Cover 2_1

2nd Movement

3rd Movement


For those who are unfamiliar with the term “double concerto,” it is a work for two solo instruments and orchestra. (Like other concertos, it  traditionally consists of three movements.) Any two instruments are fair game for such a work, but here I chose the violin and cello. (In 2009 I composed a double concerto for violin and Portuguese guitar.) Although many of my works could accurately be labeled neo-romantic in style, this one’s tuneful themes, pleasant harmonies, and vibrant energy (especially in the 3rd movement) make it perhaps even more romantic than most. I didn’t set out to do that, mind you.  Rather, when the main themes materialized in my head, it just seemed that this was the most logical approach for presenting them. In contrast, I occasionally conjure up themes that lend themselves to a more modern, even semi-dissonant style. (See, for instance, the excerpt from my 3rd string quartet below.)


 22.  Cello Concerto, 2nd Movement, 2005



Cello Concerto Cover 5_1








23.  String Quartet No. 3, 1st Movement, 2006

This quartet is an example of one of my modern-style works, which employ melodic lines, harmonies, and time signatures unlike those of my more romantic pieces.

String Quartet #3

24. Helios’s Ride, 2011

More recently, I composed a one-movement tone poem-like work titled Helios’s Ride, which is, like my third string quartet, stylistically modern sounding. Although most of the piece is not meant to be specifically programmatic, the finale was intended to, and hopefully does, conjure up a mental image of the ancient Greek god’s wild ride across the sky on a blindingly bright chariot.

25.  March on a Theme of Newman, 2006

Alfred Newman, the film composer I chose for this homage, was one of the finest melodists in the history of movie scoring and a particular favorite of mine because his themes–whether for love scenes, action sequences, or moments of high drama–were always appropriate and memorable. His scores to Wuthering Heights, How Green was My Valley, Captain from Castille, and The Diary of Anne Frank, to name only a few of his gems,  are among the most moving and beautiful ever conceived. In addition to his ability to create exquisite love themes (examples of  which can be found in all four of the films listed above), he was highly adept at composing marches. The most famous example is probably the “March of Conquest” from Captain from Castille, which college bands still play in half times across the U.S. The march-like theme that I adopted for this piece was originally composed for the 1940 film Brigham Young, but Newman used it briefly in some later films, including Yellow Sky. I hope my listeners will enjoy this rousing arrangement of the theme, in which I intertwined some original material of my own with the maestro’s exciting march.

Alfred Newman

(Alfred Newman, pictured at right at the height of his long career as music director for Twentieth Century Fox, was renowned for his expertise as a conductor as well as for his inspired film scoring. He also composed the brief but stirring theme to the logo that precedes nearly all Fox movies, a musical vignette that practically everyone is familiar with.)

26.  Violin Concerto, 1st movement, 2006

3rd movement

(See the CD cover of this piece at the top of this page.)


27.  Love in the Afternoon, 2008

This is an old-fashioned classical-style song scored for solo violin and orchestra. I based it on the melodic, highly romantic second movement of my clarinet concerto.


28.  Sample Arrangements for the Amadis Orchestra, 2008

Following are 5 sample arrangements I did for Peter Ferreira’s Amadis Orchestra. As might be expected, each is built around Peter’s solo violin.  The first one is based on the touching main theme from the 2000 Italian dramatic film  Malena. The excellent score, by Ennio Morricone, was nominated for an Oscar.


Next is the famous tango Por Una Cabeza, by Carlos Gardel, which was used in several films, perhaps most famously in Scent of a Woman. This version is scored for only twelve players.

Third is an arrangement of themes from English composer John Barry’s Oscar-winning score to the 1985 film Out of Africa.

Fourth is My Heart is Full, based on my own 2004 piece Serenade for Viola and Orchestra. Here, of course, Peter’s violin plays the viola’s part.

Last comes an arrangement of Charlie Chaplins’s wonderful song Smile. He wrote the music for it as part of his score to his 1936 film Modern Times. No lyrics existed until they were added in 1954 by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons. I did two versions of it, one for a small ensemble and this one–for full orchestra. Peter asked me to start out small, with just the solo violin accompanied by a piano and then to build a bit at a time to a big finish with the whole orchestra. He also wanted it to be somewhat in the style of a violin concerto, with passages and flourishes  that show off the instrument’s range and versatility. The brief, simple theme that appears at the start and reappears several times as the song unfolds was my own invention.

Guitar Concerto

29. Concerto for Violin and Portuguese Guitar, 3rd Movement, 2008 

This is the commission mentioned near the top of this page, a piece requested by musicians Peter Ferreira and Paulo Soares. The initial CD cover is directly above. The following sample, the 3rd movement, gives a basic idea of how well the two instruments sound together. Two important things to consider. The first involves the piece’s particular style. Peter explained that the main audiences for it would be in Portugal, Spain, and France, mostly older people who like to listen to long, romantic songs like the  arias from classic operas and popular love songs of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Hence, they were looking for a  highly melodic orchestral piece that would fit nicely into the “romantic European sound” of that era. Secondly, the sounds of the violin and guitar in this recording are not those made by Peter and Paulo. These sounds, as I explained elsewhere, are those of electronic instruments, which give only a fair approximation of what it will sound like when played by real musicians. Peter’s and Paulo’s playing is immensely better. (To eliminate any possible confusion here, since I’m posting only the 3rd movement, the melodic theme the orchestra breaks into about 4/5 of the way through the movement is the main theme of the 2nd movement, which was played slowly and sweetly in that movement. About 25 seconds after this first statement of the theme in the 3rd movement, the violin plays it again while the guitar plays the main theme of the 3rd movement. I purposely constructed the two melodies using the same chord progression in anticipation of this moment in the piece. For those who don’t know, two themes that follow the same chord progression tend to mesh together nicely, and sometimes to startling effect.)


30. Sample Arrangements for a Musical Program by Peter Ferreira, 2012

In 2012, Peter and an ensemble of 5 players he often works with joined forces with a regional orchestra in Connecticut for a series of performances. So he needed orchestral arrangements of some of the songs the ensemble normally does on its own and turned to me. Here are 2 of the 8 arrangements I did, first the famous Beatles song Hey Jude, and second, the equally famous (among opera and classical music lovers) Neesun Dorma, an aria from Puccini’s 1926 opera Turandot.

Hey Jude

Neesun Dorma

31. Jingle Bells, 2009

This arrangement of the traditional Christmas song was intended to be part of a Christmas CD that for various reasons never materialized. I’m hoping to do the CD this coming Christmas, with this and at least 8 or 9 other arrangements of holiday favorites. Not all of them will be in a jazz/big band style like this one. In fact, they will display a wide range of styles.



(Christine took the photo for the CD cover at right, featuring my tone poem Fate, which I have not had the time to satisfactorily record yet.  She took it in Greece from her chair in an outdoor restaurant.)