Performance & Scholarship

During the late fifties and early sixties many composers expressed a kind of prejudice towards composer-performers as people not genuinely committed to composition. This provided a convenient excuse to stop playing the flute, a decision also prompted by an increasing amount of theory teaching, a busy composition schedule and the time required to learn as much as possible about Japanese music as quickly as possible, to permit a thoroughly knowledgeable approach to composing for Japanese instruments, including writing these pieces in traditional tablature notation when preferable to do so.

A peculiar set of unrelated circumstances in the summer of 1982 led to the acquisition of four different shinobue, each one excellent in a different way. It seemed really wasteful to have these merely as souvenirs, so I began experimenting with them, extensively revised a solo piece written four years earlier, and performed with those instruments for the first time the following year. Performing one's own compositions is often the most practical way for a composer to obtain performances of his or her compositions, which led to writing a large number of pieces for the shinobue and other similar Japanese flutes acquired over the next few years. Over time a wide variety of opportunities became available, leading to performances as soloist with orchestras, with a chorus, with guitar ensemble, percussion ensembles, viol consort, an ensemble of Japanese instruments, and many duo combinations with Western, Japanese and occasionally Chinese instruments. Eventually four of the CDs in the Vienna Modern Masters anthology were devoted to compositions for Japanese flutes, mostly solo pieces, but also two duos and a piece with orchestra.

Current performing activity includes lecture recitals, with repertoire reconstructed from ancient sources as well as compositions relating to the many different genres of Japanese music in which these flutes play a role.


Mathematical Aspects of Music
  The Music Forum: Columbia Univ. Press, 1970, New York, pp.110-129

An Analytic Study of Japanese Koto Music
  The Music Forum: Columbia Univ. Press, 1976, New York, pp.335-393

Dual-Key Movements
  Schenker Studies: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990, Cambridge, pp.76-84

The Analysis of East Asian Music:
  Structure and Meaning in Tonal Music, Pendragon, 2006, Hillsdale, pp. 133-143

The Tonality/Atonality Divide Reconsidered
  Essays from the Fourth International Schenker Symposium Vol.1, 2008, Olms, Hildesheim, pp.173-179

Shorter articles and reviews in various American and Japanese journals


ALRY: Denver ( -1994), Charlotte (1994-2011), Seattle (2012- ), all works for piccolo solo

  Six Preludes, 1982

  Four Preludes, 1986

  Preludes Vol. III (Meridian 1994, assigned to ALRY)

  Preludes Vol. IV, 1999

  Balinese Fantasies, 2001

  Four Japanese Legends, 2003

  Reflections on Sephardic Melodies, 2004

  Scenes from the Japanese Countryside, 2005
    (A Land of Remote Valleys, and Eight Views)

  Nightcolors, 2006

  Three Tibetan Fantasias, 2007

  Of Dreams and Promises, 2008

  Piccolo Perspectives, 2009
    (Gokusourin, Unhak, and Winter Dances)

  Lyric Pieces, 2010

  Snowsounds, 2012

  Distant Echoes for two piccolos, 2015

  Concertino for four bass flutes, 2015

PRB Productions: Albany, CA

  Nine Fantasias for the Japanese Consort, 1991

  Six Fantasias on Sephardic Melodies, 1992

  Fantasias for 8-12 Viols, 1997

  Four Fantasias for the Japanese Consort, 2003

  Les Rondes for two lyra viols, 2003

  Tre Romanze for violin and small orchestra, 2004

  Asian In Nomines, 2006

  Asian Madrigaletti, 2008

  In Nomine a1 for solo viol, 2016

  Jiuta (Commemorative edition), 2017

  Two Sephardic Fantasias, 2018

  Eighteen Duos for Viols, 2020

Viola da Gamba Society of the US

  Alternativements, for six viols, 1989

  Het Nieuwe Danserye for four viols, 1997

Viola da Gamba Society of Japan, Tokyo

  Akikaze Fantasia, for six viols, 1984

  Jiuta, for solo viol, 1984

  Two Fantasias for four viols, 1984

Lang Percussion, New York

  Sonata for four timpani, 1975

  Antiphonary for marimba and violin, 1975

  Notturno e due scherzi for clainet and percussion, 1975

  Nocturnes and Meditations, 1975

  12 Preludes for diverse percussion solo, 1978

  Concerto da Camera No.5 for marimba and percussion quartet, 1978

WIGS Publications, Melbourne

  Caprices for bass clarinet solo, 1995

  Sonata No.3 for bass clarinet solo, 1995

International Trombone Association, Columbia MO

  Three Madrigals for trombone quartet, 1997

Other pieces appear in journals, including
  Journal of the Viola da Gamba society of the US
  Newsletter of the Viola da Gamba Society of the US
  Journal of the American Recorder Society
  Lute society of America Quarterly
  Yokobue Kikan

Copyright © 2024 David Loeb, All rights reserved.