As a young boy growing up in Chicago, music did not play a significant role in my life, as sports trumped my early piano studies. It was not until college and after one semester in pre-med that I became serious about a career in music, but there was much ground to be made up. I commuted as a music major, and I worked weekends in my father's Italian restaurant. After graduation, I was drafted into the Armed Service and assigned to the First Army Band. Those college and army experiences were contributing factors in developing my diversity and qualities as a person and as a musician.
What has music meant to me? Foremost, I owe a debt of gratitude to many, and I am also blessed to have had such a rewarding life in music, one which I have committed to wholeheartedly. I can't imagine a life without music. A couple of quotes to ponder: when Albert Einstein was asked what if an atomic bomb destroyed the world, he responded simply "there would be no more Mozart"; and Rachmaninoff said "music is enough for a whole lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music".
Dr. Joseph Di Piazza
Practicing –> Rehearsing –> Performance –>: Repeat Sequence.
Growing up in a musical family, that was how my world flowed. My father was a violinist and conductor; my mother was a pianist, teacher, and organist. My musical state of mind developed within an environment that revered classical music and fine artists and great artistry in all areas. And I was privileged to work with great teachers. Shaping sound and time to convey meaning and connect with others – that’s the goal, the addiction that repeatedly lures me back into that ‘sequence’ in pursuit of the heights of music-making. Music as Art.
But it also drives me to ask bigger questions about the meaning of Music. What is Music, really? Why is it so important to us? Those kinds of existential questions took me on another quest for answers when I met and joined brilliant scientists in animal communication research who were asking important questions about the musicality of other species. That opened up another part of my life and broadened my view about how deeply musicality is embedded in our evolution and in biodiversity. Music as Science.
Those dual paths – Art & Science – present complementary ways to grasp a profound, underlying musical communication system that’s within us and around us. We musicians are privileged to immerse ourselves in it, to hone our abilities to know it, and to explore the depths of this greater musical universe.
Listen carefully. Harmonize.
Dr. Patricia Gray