Though my love of music as a young child is well documented (I started playing guitar at age five, and dressed up as one for more than one Halloween), my real passion for music didn’t begin until I discovered the world of choral singing.
I grew up in snowy Ithaca, New York (slogan: “Ten square miles, surrounded by reality”). I think I first caught the bug for vocal music on a visit to Washington, DC where I was absolutely captivated by a cappella group that a friend of my parents belonged to, The Metronomes. I started singing around age 12 in my middle school chorus and by 14 I had begun arranging and putting together my own a cappella group to take Ithaca High School by storm.
The resulting group, Ascending Height, was the real beginning of my a cappella performing career. While arranging for the group, I was a two-time winner of the CAPublish scholastic arranging competition, which ultimately lead to other published work in partnership with Deke Sharon. The group was also my introduction to a cappella production, recording, and songwriting. Both albums I produced for the group won Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) for “Best High School Album,” and “Best High School Song” as well as nominations for my songs for “Best Scholastic Original.”
With all of this experience under my belt deciding on a career in music seemed logical and a great way to pursue what had become a passion. Attending the Ithaca College School of Music I was able to pursue both classical choral music as well as deepen my work in a cappella as a four-year member of the all-male vocal group, Ithacappella. I graduated in 2010 with a dual degree in Music and Business.
With Ithacappella I had the great fortune of twice performing in the finals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella at Lincoln Center (2008 & 2009) – garnering awards for “Outstanding Vocal Percussion” at all three rounds of the competition, and “Outstanding Arrangement” at the semi-final round at Rutgers in 2009. I also participated in several awesome performance opportunities with the group, including tours to Los Angeles, Florida, San Francisco, and Washington DC. A true highlight from college was when Ithacappella was invited to perform with the Grammy nominated band, Incubus, featuring my arrangement of their 2006 hit “Dig”.
In January 2011 I traveled to Sydney, Australia and began work on a Graduate Degree in Music Composition and Production. In July of 2011 I took a leave of absence from the program to return to the States to begin work as a Vocal Arranger of the NBC prime-time, a cappella show – The Sing-Off. In 2014 I co-founded A Cappella Academy (www.acappellacademy.org) with fellow Sing-Off arranger, Ben Bram, and Avi Kaplan of Pentatonix.
I currently reside in Los Angeles, California because, among many other reasons, it doesn’t snow here.