I have two degrees (Bachelor of Music, Master of Arts) in Composition from preeminent academic and conservatory institutions. I have also received numerous awards and commissions.
My compositional philosophy is simple--the ears and mind must work in tandem. I am not a tautologist of any particular idiom or compositional school, but I am a proponent of intellectual work in the field (including, but not limited to, score study, formal analysis, etc.) as the basis for developing a strong compositional technique.
My students have gone on to receive concert hall commissions and film/multimedia work alike.
As a conductor and composer, aural skills (ear training and sight singing) provide an indispensable part of my skillset.
Geoffrey (b. 1986) has been recognized through numerous commissions and appointments as a composer and conductor. He received his undergraduate degree in composition at the University of Southern California, and went on to receive his Master's in composition at the Eastman School of Music. He is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Conducting, studying with Brad Lubman and Neil Varon, also at Eastman, where he was awarded the prestigious Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. A proponent of contemporary music, Geoffrey seeks to present provocative and engaging programs that have a strong cultural impact.
As a conductor, Geoffrey has appeared with a number of ensembles throughout the United States. He currently serves as Assistant Conductor of Musica Nova, Eastman’s renowned contemporary music group, and has prepared ensembles for eminent conductors Brad Lubman, Jeffrey Milarsky, and Alan Pierson, in addition to working with Eastman resident composers Oliver Knussen, Steven Stucky and Tristan Murail. He is Music Director of the Sound ExChange Orchestra, an ensemble devoted to presenting concerts of standard and new repertoire in unorthodox settings to encourage audience interaction with performers and inspire a new generation of listeners. Geoffrey has appeared with the OSSIA New Music ensemble, the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, and has functioned as Music Director for the Eastman Graduate Composers’ Sinfonietta. In 2010, he recorded Benjamin Boretz’ Violin Concerto with Tchaikovsky Medalist Charles Castleman, for the Open Space label. While at USC, Geoffrey founded the Starving Composers’ Ensemble, whose performances were broadcast on Classical KUSC 91.5. He also conducted the premiere of his chamber opera, The Stone House, with the Chamber Opera of USC, and served as Assistant Conductor for the USC Thornton Contemporary Music Ensemble in 2007 and 2008. The following year, he conducted a new production of Dido and Aeneas in Wichita, Kansas, directed by Kazakh performance artist Timur Bekbosunov. Upcoming engagements include a concert with the Aurora Symphony Orchestra, in Denver, Colorado, where he is a finalist in its music director search.
As a composer, Geoffrey has enjoyed performances by various ensembles and individuals worldwide. In 2007, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra performed his work in Prague, Budapest and Leipzig. His solo viola piece, Disembarking, was commissioned by playwright E. M. Lewis for her Song of Extinction, and was hailed as “the most amazing element of all” by the Santa Monica Daily Press. It received subsequent performances in Cape Town, South Africa, by violist Renata van der Vyver, and is available on CD. In 2008, his commemorative work, Srebrenica Fields, was performed at the Summer Brass Institute in Atherton, California, and in 2010, his music was performed by flutist Catherine Branch at the Kennedy Center's VSA Festival. While at the Eastman School, Geoffrey has had numerous solo and chamber orchestra premieres. His ongoing project is an opera based on a true story of events in the Bosnian War—Sarajevo Vespers, with a libretto by forensic archaeologist and novelist Courtney Angela Brkic, is due to be completed in 2014 and currently seeks commissioning partners.
The field of music history benefits from the enormity of material assembled--in scores, treatises and recordings. History is particularly interesting to musicians as it links academic study with phenomenology and is therefore immediately relevant to instrumentalists as well as theorists, composers and musicologists.
My scholarly interests include the early compositions of the Second Viennese School, a musical period whose aesthetics shape my own music.
I've succeeded in collegiate courses covering the entirety of western music history both at USC (with renowned scholars Bruce Alan Brown, Robert Moore, and Adam Gilbert) and at the Eastman School of Music (Jurgen Thym, Robert Morris, and Alexander Dean). While my research interests as a composer and conductor are naturally biased toward 19th and 20th century music, the entirety of the repertoire is relevant; I am just as eager to teach about Rameau as I am Ligeti. Additional special topics seminars I've taken at these institutions have focused on Debussy's Paris and Baroque opera.
I maintain an active interest in world music (particularly of the Balkans) and American jazz and popular music history.
Theory provides the essential organizational framework for western musical studies; furthermore, its study opens creative and inspirational doors for students.
I have played piano for 20 years, both as a private student and at USC. I have taught piano lessons, routinely accompany vocalists and instrumentalists, and formerly played in a jazz trio in the San Francisco Bay Area. Piano is often an important tool in my compositional process and in my score studies as a conductor.
Sight singing, as well as any interval-reproduction (instrumental, etc.), is an essential musicianship fundamental. I teach both "moveable" and "fixed-Do" systems, in addition to set-based interval recognition and reproduction. Rhythmic ability is also crucial, and students learn to tackle complex rhythmic exercises through a system I have developed that is closely related to the famed Longy/Boulanger systems.
Some of my first compositional projects during elementary schools were in song form. I've spent time conversing with songwriters and am familiar with all 20th and 21st century idioms. I teach arranging and orchestration for popular songwriting as well.