Eliot Glaser - Composer/Performer

Eliot Glaser - picture

What's happening.
You can catch me playing at services as follows: St. Dunstan's Episcopal, 8:30 and 11am Sundays. Temple Israel, 7:30pm (usually) Fridays. Church of the Madalene, 5:30pm Saturdays.
January 2012
Begin new duties as organist/choirmaster at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church.
24 March 2011
Premiered Humanthem 2011 at Oklahoma Composers Assn. concert.
25 January 2011
Premiered "... and they twain shall be one" at Trinity Episcopal, Tulsa
25 October 2010
Premiered Prelude on Billings' "When Jesus Wept" at Oklahoma Composers Assn. concert.
June 2009
Earned certification as a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists.
March 2009
Began to add some of my prose and poetry to the site.
January 2009
MusicForYourCelebration.com goes live, offering personalized music for weddings, etc..
November 2008
Added recordings from Trinity recital and two older recitals.
May 2008
Started new position as Organist at Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist, Tulsa.
May 2007
Multiple minor site improvements. MIDI realizations of music added.
January 2006
The copyright holder for "Here I Am, Lord" agrees to allow publication of my three movement meditation for organ.
December 2005
Recordings of last month's recital at Trinity Episcopal now available online.
November 2005
Website goes live with music for purchase.
Music is the rhythm of head and heart.
Mary Baker Eddy
I can only think of music as something inherent in every human being - a birthright. Music coordinates mind, body and spirit.
Yehudi Menuhin
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau
Alas for those who cannot sing, but die with all their music in them.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.
[N]ext to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.
Martin Luther
Music may achieve the highest of all missions: She may be a bond between nations, races and states, who are strangers to one another in many ways; She may unite what is disunited, and bring peace to what is hostile.
Max Bendiner
The devil flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the word of God.
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Aldous Huxley
Where words leave off music begins.
Heinrich Heine
If our prayer were music only, we could surely sing our way into the world we want, into the heaven we desire. Each would put his own words to the melody; from every song would pour a hundred different prayers. But our past has taught us words, and though we pray the music, we cannot always pray the words. The words do not always speak for us, nor can we always understand them. Yet once we understood: to speak the ancient words returns us to that simpler time when as children we felt the world was one, and it was ours.
Shabbat Eve service, Temple Israel, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Philosophy of Music

As a composer and performer, I've long had a keen interest in the why of music as well as the how. In one of my first jobs after finishing formal musical training, I was challenged to justify music's place in society and the world of ideas. My response then and now, is that the communication of thoughts and feelings through music is a uniquely human capacity -- one which, if completely unappreciated, calls into question an individual's very humanity. To sing -- literally or figuratively -- is to express human feelings, aspirations, and emotions.

All music has a sacred aspect to it more or less, since we receive its messages through feelings and intuitions rather than via logic, intellect, or language. Music affects us in much the same way that a transformative spiritual experience does -- quietly, invisibly, radically. Perhaps our conception of music as a "universal language" is an indication that it's one of the ways God "restores our souls" referred to by the Psalmist (a talented poet and musician himself). At the same time, music can be subversive, sidestepping our intellectual defenses in order to elicit an emotional response. Theatrical directors understand this well when they use music to heighten a sense of danger or to celebrate a hero's triumph.

Music complements other more direct forms of communication such as language or dramatic action. When combined, affective and rational modes of communication reinforce each other, frequently succeeding where either on its own would fail. It could reasonably be argued that Western music has been conjoined with words or action from the time of the first Hebrew chant right up through the latest music video. Even during "classical" music's heyday, many pieces of "pure" music were given suggestive titles or programs to help focus and direct a listener's expectations. In "sacred" music, this connection with words is virtually absolute and curiously apropos, considering that its purpose is to awaken listeners' spiritual sense while appealing to them through this same avenue.

Three distinct roles must be filled if successful communication -- musical or otherwise -- is to take place: namely a sender (the composer), a transmitter (the performer), and a recipient (the audience). If any one of these is missing or ineffective, communication fails. In the world of music this means that composers, performers, and audiences form an interdependent ecosystem where ideally, each understands and supports the others.

While it's undeniably satisfying to compose music and fulfilling to listen to it, learning the discipline of performing effectively is sadly undervalued in our culture. Emphasis on the "basics" in our schools and perceptions that music is merely an entertaining luxury are primarily to blame. Years of performing and teaching children the art of performing have convinced me that there is little in contemporary life that can offer the benefits of learning to play a musical instrument well. Among other things, developing the ability to efficiently manipulate long and short term memory, the ability to critique one's own efforts, and the ability to stay focused under pressure are incredibly useful in virtually any career. Trained musicians have long been regarded as highly effective in professions requiring abstract, structured thought.

In summary, music is a vitally important part of the human experience with the potential to help create world peace, to support the cause of justice, and to energize and sanctify those who surrender to its magic.
Eliot Glaser