The Music of
Ronald James Brown
Ron studied violin, compositional theory, harmony, and counterpoint under Baird Knechtel in Toronto between 1961 and 1965. He then studied Flamenco guitar 1965 - 1967. However, after his move to Montreal in 1967 to attend university, he was no longer able to carry forward his musical training. As late as 1980 he was still playing Flamenco, but his skills had not advanced in the absence of a teacher.
Ron taught high school English literature in his first major career and then spent about 25 years as a systems analysis, specializing in performance and security, in Ottawa, mainly consulting for federal government departments. During that time his musical skills were directed towards writing computer management programs.
In 2001, Ron decided that it was time that he went back to school and so enrolled in Carleton University's music department, taking courses in contemporary techniques, orchestration, and counterpoint under Dr. Deirdre Piper. As Ron's reputation spread, Dr. Alan Belkin of the Université de Montréal took Ron on as a long distance student.
Active in online forums for composers, Ron's music developed , especially with the help and advice of Dr. Hal Owen, of the University of Oregon; Michel Edward, a composer and teacher, of Crabtree, Québec, and several other composers spread around the world. Franck Leblois, profeseur de basson et musique de chambre at Conservatoire d'Angoulême- Commixtus in Angoulême, France has performed two of Ron's works to date.
One way of Looking at it...
We look back over the passage of our lives and concoct patterns, seeing relationships between shapes and colours, in the same way we connect random stars to create pictures in the night sky and sort through dampened and re-enforced sound waves to hear conversation and music.
The human mind is a wonderful tool for imposing its own sense of order on the world. When change becomes too insistent and intrusive the brain can create an ordered world in the past, leaving us aching for something that never existed.
One day I was a secondary school English literature teacher. Another day I was a high technology consultant and computer programmer.
One day I was a homeless teenager on the streets of Toronto. One day I was the father of three fine strong sons.
On yet another day I was a young university student living on the radical edge and then I was an old man entering a university classroom to start again.
On one glorious day I married a beautiful woman who became my life-long companion, lover, helpmate, and friend.
One day I studied music and was offered scholarships that I turned down. One day I was a terrified child hiding from abuse.
One day I stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon; another day I made love surrounded by wild geese on the edge of a northern Quebec lake.
One day I was a church official. One day I was a drunk with a desolate future.
One day I wrote poetry and read in coffee-houses. One day I was pulled from a smashed car, bleeding, faceless, and bewildered.
This day I am "that composer guy" or "the old geezer" and the owner of a Bed & Breakfast with my wife. One day I was a lecturer at a university.
One day I saw a man fall to his death. One hard and painful day I saw God in the face of a woman begging in a December rainfall.
I have danced, drunk on the power of life. I have cried, lost in the darkness.
I have no idea what I will be tomorrow, except that I know it will be good. I am many things, as are we all.