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Cave Music's Improvisator


What does one call a music man who is self-taught on nearly a hundred instruments, prefers adventurous subterranean venues to traditional concert halls, asks audiences not to applaud, and plays extemporaneous music that sounds like written composition?

The Improvisator, of course!

For over twenty-five years he has performed in wine caves and underground cellars, natural caverns and woodland meadows, century-old churches and vast cathedrals, and other exotic settings.

He's Cave Music's principal sound bouncer, the artst in resonance, a sound adventurer and a good guy.

His present named performances include:

Carols In The Caves, Cave Of The Bells, Cave Of The Drums, Cave Of The Spirits (The Faerie Cave, The Mythic Cave, The Spectral Cave), Temple Of Drums, Drums Of Earth, Drums Of Peace, The Improvisator's Bring Your Own Drum Show, Night Voyage (Listening With The Lights Out).

Some previous site-specific shows have been called:

Carols In The Barrels, Carols Of The World, Carols For The New Year, Carols By Candlelight, Music And The Elements, Music Of The Spheres, Music In The Dark, Music For Harvest Moon, Music By The Hearth, Music On The Lake, Music In The Cellar, Echoes In The Earth, Echoes In Wood, Echoes In Stone, Serenade To Spring, Earth-Shake In Spring, Sounds Of Fire And Ice, Notes From Underground, Drums For The New Year, Celtic Cave-In, The Easter Feaster, World Fiesta (a festival he both produced and hosted).

The dozens of instruments he plays are all either ancient, ethnic or uncommon. They come in all kinds: strings such as mountain and hammer dulcimers, psalteries and harps; winds such as panpipes, flutes, and concertinas; and percussion ranging from hand drums and kettle drums, to bells, gongs and chimes, to steel pans, vibes and marimbas... and some that are so unusual as to nearly defy description. Most are beautifully handmade by master craftsmen. He produces his own performances and surround-sound recordings and has made a life's study of the acoustics of caves and other reverberant spaces, with the result that his instruments and playing techniques are matched to the sounds of the places where they are heard. No two Cave Music experiencess are ever identical.

His shows vary tremendously in style as well as theme.
Some of them are loud and some of them are soft.
Some combine music with dramatic recitation,
Some invite vigorous group participation,
Some approach stillness and quietude,
All are always friendly adventures.

He has been a pioneer in popularizing wine caves as venues for concerts, in which he emphasizes the cave experience with silence between sounds, no applause between selections, and audience seating in multiple tunnel directions.

The Improvisator loves a challenge!

Not limited to the wine country,
he has long looked around for unusual opportunities.

Before they became popular, he toured farmers markets with music. He has improvised concerts lit by planetarium skies, beneath the sheltering canopies of redwood groves, and deep under mountains in the 250-million-year-old Lake Shasta Caverns. He has devised live music for theatricals including his own onstage interplay with actors, and for the public celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge's 50th anniversary; and he marked the centennial of the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake & Fire with a performance called "Drums Of Earth: Earth-Shake In Spring" in a historic landmark sanctuary that had withstood the cataclysm. He emphasizes simplicity, purity of sound, and good will toward the audience, employing music to provide an ancient restorative for care-worn spirits in a changing world.

The Improvisator's Latest Project

---- Artistry in Service to Humanity ----


A lifetime studying the relaxing and salutory effects of music and sound has led The Improvisator to addressing societal issues of stress, health and happiness. Toward this end, under the auspices of a nonprofit community arts council, and with support from foundations, businesses and individuals, he offers free, multi-faceted programs to schools for nurturing the imagination of our children, and to institutions that treat illness, injury and post traumatic stress.

How did he come to live such an unusual life?

What leads anyone to anything?
Good fortune and following one's heart.
The intersection of temperament and chance.
He has always had extraordinary luck in meeting people.

The underground realm of sound resonates with his own inner world. He credits his receptivity to growing up in a rural setting, which sharpened his awareness of nature, something valuable to all artists and human beings. In school days, opportunities to play the less conventional band instruments instilled musical curiosity and confidence. He is grateful to the music teachers who encouraged him and respects their modern peers working today.


There's more about everything here on other pages of his website:

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