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My musical tastes are quite varied, though with age I find myself listening for relaxation more than excitement. Not quite to the extent of New Age, but there are a few composers whose style feels more classical - mostly using traditional instruments, sometimes mixed with electronics. I call those neo-classical, for the lack of anything better. Here are some favorite artists:

Max Richter

Born in Germany but raised in the UK, Richter studied piano and composition, and initially collaborated on projects playing modern classical and later electronica. Eventually he melded these into his own sound, a mix of modern composition, electronica, and field recordings. Richter has also gone on to score several films. Favorite albums are Blue Notebooks, Songs From Before, and the soundtrack to the film Henry May Long.

Ludovico Einaudi

Ludovico Einaudi is a pianist and composer, well known in his home country of Italy. His works include chamber and orchestral compositions, music for the stage, film soundtracks, as well as a variety of multimedia works. Favorite albums are I Giorni, Eden Roc, Diverne, and Una Mattina.

Fabrizio Paterlini

Fabrizio Paterlini is another Italian pianist, perhaps not as well-known as Einaudi but with a somewhat similar musical style...though a bit more minimalist, primarily focusing on solo piano. His music is touching and heartfelt, and I keep coming back to it. Favorite albums are Viandanze and Fragments Found.

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In the late naughts ('00s), Peter Broderick was making sweet music in my hometown of Portland, and Keith Kenniff was doing the same in Massachusetts. Kenniff moved to Portland around 2010. Both of these young men are prolific composers and musicians. Kenniff has released mostly-electronic albums under the moniker Helios and piano music as Goldmund. Favorite albums: Eingya (Helios), Corduroy Road (Goldmund)
Broderick has a number of albums on his own as well as some collaborations made while touring in Europe.

Other favorite artists: Ólafur Arnalds, Sylvain Chauveau, Balmorhea, Message To Bears, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Yann Tiersen, Julia Kent

Indie Rock

Even an old man has gotta rock sometime. These are the bands I've loved for the past few years:


Elbow has managed to churn out consistently outstanding music, awarded the UK Mercury prize for 2009's Seldom Seen Kid, but somehow has alluded fame. They've been called the "thinking man's Coldplay", but that comparison isn't truly fair. Favorite albums: Seldom Seen Kid, and Leaders of the Free World.


Califone's music defies categorization. It's rough-edged acoustics blend into something dark and cinematic. Favorite albums: Roomsound and Heron King Blues.

The National

I really like The National's dynamic sound - sometimes brooding and nervy, sometimes explosive. All The Wine (is all for me) is my official "yay me" song! Favorite albums: Cherry Tree EP, and Alligator.

Other favorite artists: Aimee Mann, Andrew Bird, Crooked Fingers, Elliott Smith, Lisa Germano, Sun Kil Moon