MOTO FINALE brings the beloved chamber music series to a close with a number of works inspired by nature, loss, spiritual connection, and music of the past. The seasoned Trio Casals returns for this seventh and final installment to perform the works of seven composers including L Peter Deutsch’s Winter 2005, a somber piano work in a style of very pure Baroque counterpoint.
Today, Peter is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about his current dream remodeling project, and how he escapes to Canada to compose…
What were your first musical experiences?
I had the good fortune to attend an elementary school with a wonderful music program; every student learned to sing, read music, and play the recorder. My parents also subjected me to piano lessons, which I don’t remember enjoying much.
How have your influences changed as you grow as a musician?
When I started writing music seriously as an adult, I was completely under the spell of 18th-century counterpoint. It wasn’t until I went back to school that I found I also had an affinity for the music of Brahms and — to a lesser extent — the 20th century Impressionists. I’ve also developed a better appreciation of simplicity and accessibility.
Tell us about your first performance.
The first public performance of my work as a serious composer was De Humanitate, a short piece for SSAA chorus performed by the terrific San Francisco Choral Artists in April 2005 at St. Mark’s in Palo Alto. The experience was a total high, despite the relatively small audience.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
I’m still trying to figure that out myself. If you’d asked me a couple of years ago, I probably would have said I’d be immersed in my previous creative work of software hacking. But I just turned 75, and we’re just completing a dream remodel of our extensive orchard-like yard, and I’m starting to think I might be happiest as more of a retired homebody. Ask me again in a year or two.
What advice do you have for young musicians?
The same advice that my first musical mentor gave to me (although much later in my life): go to school. It won’t teach you how to create *your* music, but you’ll get a lot of basic skills that may be helpful along your way, even though they may not seem to be useful at the time.
Where and when are you at your most creative?
I need a low-stress, undisturbed, isolated environment to compose well. For the last few years, I’ve taken a 3-month vacation in Canada, alone, which has been very good for this process. I started my first-ever work for full orchestra in early 2020 while in Vancouver, and I’m not sure I could have completed it if I hadn’t had that solo space to do the initial drafting and planning.