L. Lawrence Bispo

Composer hat?

About the composer

Some history

My first in-depth involvement with music was in high school, when I played drums in the school Jazz Band for three years. I was actually pretty good, and there were times, much later, when I wished I had stuck with it, as it probably could have been a nice little career for me. But all seems to have worked out for the best.

The early days of composition

Late in high school my mother bought me my first guitar, and my affair with drumming was more or less over from that day forward (though I’ve played percussion in an orchestral setting two or three times). Composition was a draw for me immediately. I can no longer remember what it sounded like, but I do remember that I wrote a little something on that very first day – probably just a couple of notes, but that was the beginning of it all.

After a few years of composing and playing new age, blues and jazz, I was drawn into the world of “classical” music by the amazing works of composers like Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, and then many others. I was lucky enough to study composition for a few years with the great musician Joel Feigin at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where I received my Bachelor of Music in Composition.

Hiatus and return

A physical infirmity put an end to my guitar playing for many years, and to my composition with it. I have since built a different career as an educator and fine art painter and illustrator. A few years ago, I came back to some of my half-finished musical pieces, intending to complete them once and for all, get them published and move on. But doing so made me realize that I can enjoy composing even without the pleasure of performing my pieces at a high level, and so I have taken up the reins with both hands again, composing whenever I am able. Very little gives me more pleasure than agonizing over a canon or fugue.

My current influences are primarily from the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. I can listen to almost anything from the early Seventeenth Century (but most especially to Monteverdi and Lawes, oh yes), and my own pieces are heavily influenced by music from that time, in structure, format, modality, etc. Other composers who are always with me: Bach, Weiss, Haydn, Beethoven, and many of the early modernist composers as well. There are also influences from rock music (it’s what I grew up listening to, after all) and world music.

I currently live in San Diego county with my beautiful wife Joy, and our crazy dog Fiona.