(Updated October, 17, 2017)
This website began as my way of processing my musical adventures as I conducted dissertation field research in Romania. It has been my media lab, my writing studio, my playground. My goal for this site was to register Transylvanian folk music, with a special emphasis on string bands, as it is occurring at the beginning of the 21st century.
Since my return to the States, I have expanded StringMuse to include my personal musical work. Now visitors can learn a little more about me and the music that I have been making and the individuals, bands, and organizations that I have collaborated with over the last 17+ years.
In my blog, I cast a wide net to capture topics that are hopefully interesting, helpful, insightful, critical, or perhaps at times a bit funny. In all cases, I am exploring this musical world through a process of respectful curiosity and experimentation. Regarding my work in Romania, I want to convey mainly two things: one, that there are various and sometimes competing approaches to the study, patronage, and performance of this music; and two, that the wide variety of musical backgrounds and techniques of Transylvanian folk violinists simultaneously blurs, splinters, and enriches the genre, creating an exceptional and somehow cohesive string ensemble art form.
The Gallery is a space for the best folk-derived string music in Transylvania. It is an important aspect of this site. The work that these musicians produce deserves a better-known place in the lexicon of world musical genres. As a violinist, I hear their various string playing approaches and techniques as bold, unconventional, innovative, and exciting. For these reasons, these violinists and the music they create deserves deep consideration by string experts and enthusiasts around the world. I hope that this site provides such a platform.