Composers & the Voice alum and man of many talents Daniel Felsenfeld revealed his rebel background and its influence on his composing in a recent essay on the New York Times Opinionator blog.
At 17, rebellion was of course a staple in my life. The smartest kids I knew took the route of dolling themselves up in anti-establishment finery — goth, punk, straight edge — forming bands, going to clubs in Los Angeles, spouting manifestos. I had auditioned this mode, joining a band (whose name escapes me) and, in one of my great (mercifully unphotographed) late high school moments, taking a long, throbbing solo at a school assembly on one of those bygone over-the-shoulder keyboards.
It seems implausible now, but the “something really wild” Mike held was not goth, metal, or punk. It was a neatly hand-labeled tape of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. He put it on, and I listened. I think it was then I actually heard music for the first time.