Songs My Radio Taught Me for marimba (2008)

Each of the five movements in this suite were inspired by various pop songs from the early 1980s. I decided to take short, memorable, and in some cases iconic, licks and hooks from these songs and abstract them, mutate them, hide them, and embrace them. For a while in my musical development, I shunned and hid any of my earlier musical tastes. I carried my pop music history with shame as I set out to become more erudite and sophisticated. In recent years, I’ve realized how wrong it was for me to have that attitude. All my musical tastes, from Spike Jones and the City Slickers to Witold Lutoslawski, from John Luther Adams to Huey Lewis and the News, from Faster Pussycat to Elliott Carter, make up who I am as a composer.

The hardest part about writing these pieces was choosing and limiting myself to five songs. Invariably, you the listener will want a different song added to my collection. I can’t help that but I can encourage you to take that song and let us hear it synthesized through your years of experience. In other words, go write your own piece! These were tremendous fun to com- pose and I hope that they are fun to perform and to hear.

Download the score: Songs My Radio Taught Me

Big thanks to Aaron Ragsdale (South Dakota State) for making 2 videos!