One question I have had to answer a few times is why did I chose to compose classical music as opposed to popular music or jazz. I remember an answer I gave on a TV interview some years ago about the difference between popular music and classical. You may not agree with me but this is what I told the interviewer:
The basic difference between classical and popular music is that popular music addresses the body and classical music addresses the spirit. That difference has become more marked with the passage of time. Nowadays a great deal of popular music is based on rhythm more than on melody, especially hip-hop and rap. It makes you want to dance. The rock and roll music prevalent from the 60s to the 80s sometimes made you want dance but at least made you want to clap or move to it. The rhythmical part and the beat were already important.
In classical music, the spirit gets addressed. The music, when it comes through, manages to engross your attention and as a result, when you are attending a great concert, you get complete silence. You have 2000 people together and you can hear a pin drop. Everybody’s attention is totally taken by the music and the experience is very personal. You feel it inside. And everything else that your mind was occupied with gets displaced and discarded for the time being.
Probably the first times that happened to me was when I listened to my mentor, pianist Mario Feninger, in concert. I had heard some of the pieces he played, like the Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven and some Chopin waltzes, but the effect they created on me that day was totally different than what I had experienced before. The music took me somewhere else.
And that experience is what I have been trying to recreate for others, first as a pianist, and now, as a composer. I want to take you somewhere else, forget the corporeal and enter into the spiritual. The piece doesn’t have to be necessarily very consonant or very slow. You just have to feel, after it is over, that something happened, that you experienced something, that it took you on a trip and that, when it brought you back, you were a little better off for it. That’s the whole idea. And I think it is worth it.