Cellist, Director, Teacher and Author
Inspiration and music came into my life at age 6 when I announced to my parents that I was going to play the cello. By 16, I was drinking up inspiration from the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals and sharing inspiration onstage as soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
I attuned my skills at the Eastman School of Music where I received the Performer’s Certificate and BM under the tutelage of Paul Katz of the Cleveland Quartet. By the time I received my MM at Indiana University under the esteemed Janos Starker, my life was resonating unconditionally with the joy of music.
My first position as Principal Cellist of the Evansville Philharmonic and the Owensboro Symphony Orchestras taught me about how to share this joy in the context of leadership. As the founding cellist for the musical storytelling troupe Tales & Scales, I helped inspire the imaginations of young audiences across the nation.
An introduction to the West Coast awakened within me a profound yearning for the ocean and the mountains, and I arrived in Portland in 1996 to become the founding cellist for the internationally acclaimed band Pink Martini, as well as a cellist for the Portland Opera.
By 2001 an inward calling had grown so strong within me that I left everything to become Music Director at the Ananda Village in Northern California, with the singular opportunity to teach and direct a remarkable group of meditators. Each week we explored more deeply the realms of music, consciousness, inspiration, discovering the steps for achieving a consistently inspired performance. We were able to duplicate extraordinary experiences of flow in performance—where time stands still and all that exists is the joy of the music.
Hollywood made a dramatic entrance into my life in 2012 when I was asked to musically direct and produce the soundtrack for the film Finding Happiness featuring Elisabeth Rohm (LA Law, American Hustle). Soon thereafter, I arrived back in Portland, where I am currently teaching Workshops for the Inspired Musician, sharing what I have learned through this 18-year journey into music and inspiration.
I’ve sought to capture my experiences of inspiration on recordings, and my discography includes Sympathique with Pink Martini, Mystic Harp 2, Secrets of Love, Relax: Meditations for Flute and Cello, and Song of the Nightingale for Crystal Clarity Publishers, and the Finding Happiness soundtrack for Hansa Productions.
I currently perform with The Bodhi Trio, the Oregon Symphony, and Portland Cello Project, teach at Lewis and Clark College, direct the Advanced Strings at Oregon Episcopal School and am a Teaching Artist for the BRAVO Youth Orchestra. I live in Southwest Portland with my wife Madhavi, daughter Caitlin and our Manx cat, Maggie.
Articles and Videos
Answers to Spiritual Questions
Dear Som, I do feel for you, and have been in similar situations myself where I had a hard time making a tough decision. I can’t help think, though, of a humorous short story by PG Wodehouse, entitled Goodbye to
Dear Jeff – thank you for your question, and yes, sometimes it is difficult to grasp all the words in chants, producing humorous results. For instance, “Lord, I am Thine” can be misheard as “Lord, I am dying…” Always a
Dear Alan – what an excellent question, and a very important one! The fact that you are wondering if you are spiritual indicates that you have a high degree of spirituality – even to want to know God takes very
Dear Amber – yes, there are quite a few children’s songs that I think you would like. The first is Guide Me Lord: 1. Guide me, Lord, throughout this day; In all I do, in all I say. Tell me
Yes, Yogananda wrote quite a bit about the power of music! A great place to start is in Chapter 15 of the Autobiography of a Yogi. Don’t let the title of the chapter throw you off: The Cauliflower Robbery! Yogananda
An excellent question, and an ability well worth developing! Two things are needed: energy and receptivity. One of the first things to check is your own energy — if you are feeling stuck, you may feel like your energy is
Dear Samuel, I’m glad that your devotion is deepening with meditation and practicing of the presence. Isn’t it amazing how many spiritual tools we have: Meditation, yoga, chanting, energization, affirmation, japa, diet, pranayama, healing prayer, just to name a few!