Allan Schindler, my friend, mentor, and colleague, passed away suddenly on October 8th, 2018.
The folks at Eastman reached out to colleagues and alumni, and set up a memorial concert for Allan on November 7th in Rochester, NY. Allan’s music was the centerpiece, and many of us were asked to contribute pieces. As you can see from the concert program, the response was overwhleming.
Before the concert there was a private service for close friends and family. It was beautiful. Truly beautiful. The love everyone shared for Allan was on full display.
After the concert, we all raised a glass to Allan. Many of us hadn’t seen each other in 16+ years and it was important (maybe even necessary) to get together to share stories and remembrances.
A Few Personal Reflections
When I arrived at Eastman in 1996, I had already written a considerable amount of music for electronic media but I felt constantly thwarted. My frustration with computer-generated sound was that it simply didn’t have the expressive potential of acoustic instruments. I struggled and struggled trying to get those damn computers to sing — even if only for a brief moment.
And then I worked with Allan. And I got to know his music. It was music from silicon chips that defied gravity. It danced and floated. And it sang.
Like his personality, Allan’s music expressed or embodied the essential values of the greatest art: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility, and multiplicity.
And to me, it sounded completely effortless. But in working with him (and around him) I learned the truth; getting computers to make musically expressive sounds is a Herculean challenge.
Allan fought hard to make his sounds “come alive” (as he was fond of saying). He would spend weeks getting a few seconds of music to work out. And we (his students) were lucky enough to hear him wrestle those sounds into submission through his office door. Day in and day out.
As it turns out, listening to Allan work was one of the greatest lessons he provided to his students. (Little did I know that nearly all of us felt this way…) But when I arrived at Eastman in 1996, I had just about given up. I was nearly convinced there was no way to coax music worth hearing from a computer.
That is, until I learned from Allan’s example.
He loved his life. He loved his work. And he was loved by many.