31 March 2010

From the Tavern to Symphony Hall


To round off March, I decided to do my own little homage to Béla Bartok and his immeasurable contributions to music (in the form of a fun little duet, featuring violinist Neli Nikolaeva). The deliciously asymmetric folk tunes of his native Hungary and neighboring Bulgaria proved to be the most incredible seedlings to his singularly unique compositional voice, bringing these peasant tunes and bar songs out of the taverns and into the apex of 20th century music.

I have to wonder how many thousands of gallons have flown through these taps. I also have to wonder how much of that has been consumed by employees staying after work. Regardless, they are still the best taps I have ever seen in a bar, adjustable flow rate, and a guaranteed crowning head of foam every time. 

30 March 2010


Part 7, the last in this series, concludes with the most senior ranking Wintory, my beloved grandfather Nicol Wintory (with tremendous special thanks to my uncle, Ken Wintory, for helping facilitate this recording):
Grown Gray
Why be afraid?
Don't look behind.
Humor defies age.
Somehow, wintry waters
Have a voice.
We shall be together
Where silence sounds
And wrinkled lips
Feel welcoming

Let the wick burn the wax away I suppose, and be better for it and all the dancing flames?

29 March 2010

Cenozoic part 2 - Quaternary


Beginning about 2.5 million years ago, the Pleistocene Epoch saw the flourishing and eventual demise of the Earth's last great megafauna, as well as the harsh "Icehouse Earth" climate conditions. The continents at last arrived into their modern locations. About 75,000 years ago the Lake Toba supervolcano erupted in an explosion thought to be the most colossal in the last 25 million years. The event was of such a magnitude that it created a 10-year "volcanic winter," and brought the now-anatomically modern human population to the verge of extinction (possibly as low as 1000 breeding pairs!). 12,000 years ago the Holocene Epoch began, where we now find ourselves. Exponential changes occurred, and in the tiniest blink of an eye, the world we live in today has been created.

Raise your arms to be perfectly straight and horizontal. Now imagine the earth's geologic timescale as beginning on the farthest tip of your left hand, and today, March 29 2010, as the farther tip of your right hand. A single pass with a fingernail file over your right hand's middle nail would eliminate human civilization entirely from this timeline ...

We’ve gone from nomadic hunters to being able to stream Netflix on an XBOX 360. Written history covers a remarkably short period of time and yet includes some face melting, head exploding advances. That’s not to say everyone has one to use, or even the electricity to power it, but as an example of human technology, you can’t help but think that in a very short period of time we have done some big things. If they can put a man on the moon…

28 March 2010

Together We Served - 3

Meet Amin Dabit. He was a bartender at Gordon Biersch. Now he is a CFP at Merrill Lynch. Basically he's better with your money than you are. Every day he gets to sit high atop Denver, because he's pretty much a bad ass. We're all gonna be big one day. Get to know us, world.

We round off the "Pub Quintet" series today with a setting of the Bulgarian folk tune "Pajdusko." If you have no idea why I'm accompanying a former Gordon Biersch bartender with the sounds of 5 drunken Bulgarians, then you clearly haven't been paying attention...

27 March 2010

Together We Served - 2

Meet Melina Hernandez. She used to dominate cocktail at Gordon Biersch. Now she's a 2L at DU. She'll be fighting for your rights soon. Maybe even your right to party. We're all gonna be big one day. Get to know us, world.

Once again, I don't know the dedicatee so I've continued my Bulgarian folk tune for drunken upright player and four equally drunk plate/pan/silverware players. As with yesterday, all 5 parts are being performed by me, and the tune is called "Ludo Kopano."

26 March 2010

Together We Served - 1

Listen: Together we Served - 1.Mp3


Meet Mark Bever. He was a bartender at Gordon Biersch. He left to begin his career in architecture. This series (although it could have been a full month itself) is only three of the many wonderful people I worked with at Gordon Biersch. We're all gonna be big one day. Get to know us, world.

Having never met any of the GB servers to which Andy has dedicated this series, I decided to do the next most logical thing: create a series of Bulgarian folk tunes, played in a bar on the in-house upright, and accompanied by four rowdy customers playing "percussion" with their plates, pans and silverware. In this case the "pub quintet" is played entirely by me, and the tune in question is called "Eleno Mome."

25 March 2010

Know Your Roots

Listen: Know Your Roots.MP3 


And also, know your routes. In thinking about who I am, I find that I am impossible to define without also knowing what I have been and what has influenced me. I went to CU, and I carry with my a sense of pride for my alma mater and Colorado in general. I can also never forget my childhood (and adulthood) love for little things like the Ghostbusters. Likewise with video games, even if it makes me a bit of a nerd (and I am). Oh, and in case you can't see it, I'm holding a bicycle route map of Denver, teehee.

My roots, musically speaking, are a sort of muddy and vague concept for me. I didn't exactly grow up grounded in a strong musical tradition, and once I began studying / composing music, the influences seemed to bombard from all directions. The most noteworthy example, though, is a piece written by my original piano teacher, Derry O'Leary, called "Thunderwood" which not only inspired my composing in general, but also my fanatic love for Latin music. Later, a big surprise came after moving to NYC and bonding with my octogenarian relatives there. They seemed to repeatedly observe a latent Jewish heritage in my music, as if by some sort of Jungian genetic inheritance. So there you have it. My roots.

24 March 2010


Part 6, the penultimate of the series of Sonja Eisenberg's poetry, here performed by my sister Audrey Wintory:
All is gone
The sun's grace
All is ebbing tide.
A woman deserted
Grown tired with time
Is blind sorrow,
Even rocks eventually shift
After summers of rain

As a young-ish man, it is a bit hard to directly relate to this poem, but I have felt this all is gone desperation.Breaking a piggy bank to me is such a last resort thing (and I would never actually break this one.) But to me it symbolizes being completely out of options, all your plans and savings gone.

23 March 2010

Cenozoic part 1 - Paleogene


The post-Cretaceous extinction saw the world initially as relatively tropical climate, moving towards a gradual cooling (which eventually led to the quasi-modern ice ages). Mammal diversification flourished in the newly-cleansed world. Continental plates brought the globe closer and closer to their modern locations. Indeed, the stage was being set over these 40 million years or so for a tremendous change around the corner...

A nice clean start for the Earth and the most excellent rise of the mammal. 

22 March 2010

We Go Way Back

Barbara and Cortney. I love these girls. I met them the summer prior to our junior year of college. If you gauge by years known they are actually some of my newest friends, but based on zany, fun experiences, we go way back. It seemed wrong to celebrate a month of history without dedicating a day to them.

I've not met the two women who inspired this post today, but certainly have many people like that in my own life (including Andy himself). I have a strong emotional / nostalgic reaction to the idea of a relationship which transcends the mere circumstances of its creation, and sees you through all different phases of life. It only seemed natural then that today's music would be a sort off-shoot of the "Lineage" series, seeing a simple 3-note motif through a variety of different settings, ever-surviving, ever-consistent.

21 March 2010

Colfax in Four Parts - 4


Check out allogamy.net for the full post!

In the last ten years or so, the City of Denver has gone out of its way to spearhead a revitalization of Colfax Avenue, building new malls and generally beautifying the area. Hope has come to this street, once so imbedded in stigma. Perhaps a glimmer of its founding glory is yet to come? As with the previous three parts in the series, featured here is Andrew Leonard on clarinet.

20 March 2010


Part 5, once again featuring the poetry of Sonja Eisenberg, and here performed by mother Shelley Wintory:
In perfect metaphor
Wilted apologies
The hours you have married.
I have witnessed
More tender proof.
Smiles without walls arouse
Cold intervals of memory
Where you take me sleepwalking.

Winter's savage departure yesterday. And spring today, it is already melting. Not a very literal interpretation of the poem today, but this is where it lead me.

19 March 2010


Mankind has created some absolutely awe-inspiring things, and not the least of which is music itself. The finest minds, such as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, etc etc ... their contributions to the world of incalculable value...

... and yet I would honestly trade it all to catch even a fleeting glimpse of a living dinosaur. Somehow I never got over the obligatory childhood fascination with these beasts, and so today is in their honor. They lived more than 160 million years, the crowning achievement of the Mesozoic Era, only to be swiftly eliminated in the relative blink of an eye. The music is somewhat scherzo-like in quality: I'm doing my part to try and dispel the last fragments of myth that these were lumbering, slow and heavy monsters; in contrast, they were fast, intelligent, agile, unstoppable juggernauts.

The king, himself. The tyrant lizard. One of the later dinosaurs to roam the Earth during the Mesozoic, Tyrannosaurus was a big guy. And yet we'll only ever know him by his bones. It is really impossible for me to wrap my head around the concept of a near 200 million year era, that ended 65 million years ago. As humans we just don't have a frame of reference to appropriately conceptualize that big a chunk of time. I wouldn't believe you if you said you could. One thing is for certain: dinosaurs had a long reign, and really showed the planet what it meant to be a chordata. Yet ever after millions of years, they were not immune to extinction.

18 March 2010

Colfax in Four Parts - 3


Check out allogamy.net for the full post!

Through the first half of the 20th Century, interstate highway developments siphoned huge amounts of traffic away from Colfax, and the overwhelming majority of its prestige and success vanished. Upscale shops were replaced by strip clubs, etc etc. In fact, reportedly the mentally ill were known to widely roam the street, as nearby housing had been provided for discharged psych ward patients. These sorts of colorful, almost comic book-style images were what shaped my childhood perception of Colfax, here captured absolutely perfectly by Andrew Leonard on bass clarinet.

17 March 2010

Saint Patrick



If you are not already, please start following along here, benefit being: you can see the photo and hear the music together.
Ireland's patron saint, converter of pagans. Yet his life was not a well documented one. He was captured and remained a slave for several years. He escaped and later returned to Ireland (where he was not originally from) to spread Catholicism. I think you'd be hard pressed to get that much information from celebrating St. Patrick's Day in the US, but a we drink to his life (and death) anyway. Now where'd I put my beer?

A bit of an irresistible indulgence in Irish folk music. In this case the tune in question is "Limerick Rake," and the overall piece is a quasi-program piece covering the story of Saint Patrick himself. In a nutshell, he was captured by raiders and taken from Ireland, only to return later as a heroic missionary to save the Irish.

16 March 2010

Colfax in Four Parts - 2


Please check out allogamy.net for the full post!

As the 20th Century began, Colfax was marked by booms and busts (as was much of the West). High times would come about quickly and fleetingly, though all things considered the avenue remained centrally important as Denver's population crossed the 100,000 line. Nonetheless the future remained uncertain. Here again the clarinet is performed by Andrew Leonard.

15 March 2010

Colfax in Four Parts - 1



I've only included 1 of 4 photos for this first post here. Please visit allogamy.net for the full post!

I confess to having taken this series into a pretty abstract direction, though always rooted in the actual history of Denver's famed Colfax Avenue. Growing up I always had a (probably unfair) mental image of Colfax as a seedy crime den, like something from Jabba's Palace. As a result, my starting point for this series was a sort of film noir-styled jazz approach. Somehow though, my inner ear led me away from that and towards something less concretely "jazzy" or "seedy." Clarinet is the featured instruments for the series, each time played wondrously by Andrew Leonard.

Part 1 is my (again I'll say, abstract) portrait of Colfax's earliest history, as a prominent road used by Colorado Gold Rush settlers in the late 1800's. Boosted by this intense commercial traffic, the avenue quickly become the home to illustrious mansions and elite estates.

14 March 2010




Part 4 of 7 today; the hub. The center. "Worlds are Burning" performed by the author and source of virtually all my life's musical inspiration, Sonja Eisenberg.

Tell me
What you always say
I answer you with nothing
Tell me
There is a way
While worlds are burning
And we're breaking free
Tell me
What you always say
Ask me
I answer: "yes"

Did what I could to match this poem. I felt a longing in this poem, but it is also quite enigmatic. I tried to match that with my lighting setup.

13 March 2010

Paleozoic Part 2: Permian Extinction


About 250 million years ago a magnificently epic event took place ... the Permian Extinction. With the potential exception of the earlier-discussed Great Oxygenation Event, this "Great Dying" is Earth's most severe mass event, with 96% of marine life and 70% of terrestrial life going extinct (including the only known mass extinction of insect species, such as the amazing 2-foot wingspan dragonflies known as Protodonata). There doesn't appear to be any one specific cause, most likely occurring as a result of simultaneous, gradual climate changes along with possible asteroid impacts, increased volcano activity, etc. However, in the wonderfully eternal mystery that is life, this seemingly tragic event is actually cause of immense celebration ... the 'Sunday Morning' following the storm opened the door for 160 million of Earth's most glorious years ...

Another Friday night, another cop-out iPhone shot. This was the computer terminal at the bowling alley I went to tonight. We made enough jokes about it that it might as well have been from the Paleozoic. I thought technology this old had gone extinct...

Bowling also made me think about the role of the microbe throughout all of Earth's history. I was perfectly comfortable with wearing borrowed shoes, worn by hundreds before me, with only a quick disinfectant spray as the barrier between me and the last guy. And why not? Hasn't killed me yet. But when you stop and think that there are more bacterial cells in and on you than human cells you can't help but be a little humbled. Who really rules the Earth? So Permian Extinction or not, the microbe is one hell of a champion as far as time goes, and we should be thankful for the relationships we have formed with our microbiota and for our astounding immune systems which help take care of the less diplomatic microbes.

12 March 2010



The (increasingly nostalgic) exploration of my Wintory/Weinberger lineage continues today with another of Sonja Eisenberg's poems (performed here by my father, Terry Wintory).

The commandeered refrain
Extraordinary bliss
As if
Those hours
Of gnawing fear
Were bubbles,

The content of these poems can be enough to give me chills, let alone instant inspiration. I have been going back and forth on my interpretation thanks to the word "Pretends." Is it beneficial to lose ourselves in the temporary emotional release offered by, in this case, music? Or is it simply that-- temporary, an escape that leaves us no closer to confronting our fears when we return to them? Regardless, I visualized this as an attempt to wash dirt from ones hands. Soap protecting us and washing us clean. It is also a bit beyond my bedtime...

11 March 2010

Paleozoic Part 1: Cambrian Explosion


About 530 million years ago the so-called "Cambrian Explosion" occurred, marking a sudden surge lifeform population and biological diversity. Fossil records show an almost immediate leap forward in the complexity of countless species, and the overall makeup of life began to take shape as it exists today (in terms of animals and plant life). While geologically an "explosion," this process actually took millions of years and hence today's music is more of a gradual crescendo of coalescing and evolving individuals.

Maybe not quite Cambrian... but close enough. It's no single celled/simple multi-celled organism. 

10 March 2010

Tombeau de Berlioz


Hector Berlioz is among the most preeminent of 19th Century composers and his greatest contribution to the world of music was the complete revolutionizing of orchestration. He made the use of the orchestra into an art form of its own (arguably at the potential expense of musical depth for all composers thereafter). The extreme of that development came in the form of "Klangfarbenmelodie," the early 20th Century style of music defined entirely by its use of instrumental color. This is a style that I've largely shied away from (especially lately), but in honor of the great French Master, today have decided to give it another stab. I'm mixed on the results, not to mention the tremendous dissatisfaction from rendering orchestral music completely electronically.

Here is my orchestra of color. Each individual section gives off its own rich colored light, bright and brilliant. If only a single color is lit the result is a projection of that color onto whatever object it is aimed at. When all three colors shine, however, the result is white light. Not all that shocking given the primary colors and the wave property of light, but I thought it was an interesting corollary to Berlioz's orchestration.

09 March 2010

Happy Birthday Yuri and Sam!


Today marks the birthday of two very different and altogether unrelated heroes: Yuri Gagarin and Samuel Barber. Gagarin, the first human being to leave the Earth, is a Russian hero and was a symbol of Russia's prominence in the space race; Barber was a quintessential American composer whose style stood in dramatic contrast to the reigning trends of European composers of the mid-20th century. We salute them today with a Barber-inspired setting of the famous Russian folk-tune "Polyushko Pole," also known as "O Field, My Field."

Visually wishing a happy birthday to two dead men is a tough thing to do. So in a way, I didn't. I focused on the idea of being the first man in space. I imagine it could become alienating, pun possibly intended. So I shot myself spotlighted, otherwise in the dark. I used a very simple light set up (I'm holding the umbrella the flash is bouncing into) to create the dramatic transition between light and shadow. I also have my back against the fence which now separates the neighborhood which used to be the large field behind my house. O Field, My Field indeed.

08 March 2010



An admittedly strange photo today, but I was influenced by this poem. If the poem was not in turn inspired by the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box," than it's a great coincidence. I believe Holmes is said to own a Stradivarius in the story, and as the title would suggest cardboard is also involved. A woman is sent a box with two severed ears inside, hence this odd photo.

I return to the poetry of Sonja Eisenberg today for part 2 of this Portrait. The poem (here performed by me), is:

Do you recognize this violin
A Stradivarius?
Here's a puzzle:
Which sound could burst
Our card board bubble?

07 March 2010

Precambrian Part 2 - Proterozoic



Beginning approximately 2.5 billion years ago, this Eon saw what was potentially the most severe mass extinction in Earth's history, known as the "Great Oxygenation Event." The amount of free oxygen in the atmosphere skyrocketed after the various oxygen sinks became saturated, killing off the vast majority of life which had adapted to a low oxygen environment. Later, between 650-800 billion years ago (still during the Proterozoic Eon), the Earth entered into the so-called "Snowball Earth" period during which the surface was almost entirely frozen (this is all, of course, theory). I remember first hearing of the 'Snowball Earth' during a college geography course and have ever since longed to explore that notion musically. Today is the first attempt, though I think I've hardly scratched the surface.

Planet being overrun by pesky anaerobes? No problem! Try new OxiClean and in no time your atmosphere will become a harsh an inhospitable wasteland effectively ending the reign of the anaerobes!

06 March 2010

Happy Birthday Michelangelo!



I have always been inspired and intrigued by Michaelangelo's famous statement that when carving a sculpture, he was actually merely discovering the already-finished sculpture and removing the unneeded pieces. At the core of his block lay David or whatever else, pristine and awaiting liberation. Today is the rough musical equivalent; layers upon layers of musical fabric, each with their own individual logic and expression, slowly pealed away to reveal the simple core. 

Happy birthday buddy! It is incredibly nice outside and I rarely get an opportunity to shoot during the day so I took today's photo in my backyard. Good times.

05 March 2010

So Many Hours ...


Indeed an alarming amount of my life has been spent clutching a controller, but GoldenEye for N64 really was at the forefront of making gaming a social experience. We were crammed into one room, four friends, four controllers, and a license to kill. Not to forget games like Mario Kart for their amazing multiplayer mayhem, but it is GoldenEye that really sowed a seed in social gaming.
Strobist: 1 LP120 @28mm, 1/32 power, into collapsed silver umbrella camera left, 1 LP120 @28mm, 1/32 power, barn doored behind controller. Triggered via radiopopper JrXs.

Indeed countless cumulative days were spent in front of GoldenEye in particular, so it seemed a fun nod was due to world of Bond and its legacy of great music. I admit, however, that this piece ended up rather odd, as a sort of schizophrenic homage to Bond (maybe this is the music of Bond after he closes his eyes at night and simultaneous remembers all the lovers and all the kills. A sea of chaos both romantic and twisted?).

04 March 2010



In contrast to the overtly primitive "caveman-ness" of yesterday's post, today's is a look at my musical evolution over the essentially one year period which straddled the end of high school and start of college. It's basically a program piece, telling the story of a young, more or less self-taught composer contentedly writing extremely "Hollywood" sounding music who is violently plunged into the world of formal classical education. Despite years of composing and conducting, at age 18 I was largely still unfamiliar with some extremely seminal staples of the repertoire. Assembled here is a collage of some of the works which most profoundly changed me in that very short period of rebirth (can you name them? There are 19 in all....)

My attempt at forced perspective. Turns out it's difficult when you're shooting yourself, but it's still fun. I need to start finding models... The concept, if not obvious, was a play on the huge amount of information presented in academia/college, and how quickly it can become overwhelming.

Strobist: LP120 @ 28mm, 1/1 Power into 43" Westcott shoot-through umbrella at encyclopedias. LP120 @ 28mm, 1/1 Power, 1/4 CTO @ me. Triggered via RadioPopper JrXs.

03 March 2010




The first seven years of my life were spent in Aurora, CO and in a sense they represent "prehistory" for my life. I didn't study (or even listen to!) music. In fact, video games (leading eventually to computer programming) weren't that important to me yet. Basically none of my priorities in life today were even sewing their seeds back then. In watching home movies from that period, I see myself as erratic, unpredictable, odd. Pretty well sums up today's music ...

This is the intersection of Illif and Chambers, the closest major intersection to the house I lived in during my earliest childhood. Good old Aurora.