Composer/Pianist KIRK NUROCK


KIRK NUROCK is refreshingly hard to pin down. He orchestrated for Leonard Bernstein, Dizzy Gillespie and Meredith Monk, composed a work for 2O voices and 3 canines which he conducted at Carnegie Hall, and won a scholarship at age 16, awarded by Duke Ellington. Keyboard Magazine called him "joyously iconoclastic" and the Village Voice, "a composer-pianist who has always defied categorization.” The New York Times put it succinctly: "Mr Nurock has unique credentials."

New York City 10011
BA, MM, The Juilliard School
Kirk leads participants singing to Zebras at The Bronx Zoo, 1982

                                                        Hidden Orchestras   
      Proud music of the storm!  Blast that careers so free…you hidden orchestras!   - Walt Whitman

The Aristotelian concept that "art imitates nature" has long been embraced by western culture.  During the many periods of realism, painters sought to capture nature's exact light and hues. And from Impressionism to today, there continues a sense of wonder at the abstraction found in leaf or waterfall.   

Double Standard

But oddly, in music we have assumed the exact opposite: that the sounds of nature are merely noises - annoying ones at that.  Roaring thunder, barking dogs, incessant crickets.  In order to make music more pleasing, we developed instruments and tonal relationships ostensibly superior to those of nature. 

Of course, most instruments resonate with nature's overtone series, and in Africa for example, flutes and drums are made from tree bark and animal hides. There are classic birdsong evocations by Messaien, and composers George Crumb and Paul Winter have famously integrated whale sounds in their works.

Nonetheless, there remains an overall feeling that music is music and nature is not.