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|Brian's musical career began at the age of ten, when his parents forced him to take music lessons. He wasn't very happy about it, so he chose the alto saxophone as his instrument, thinking that might drive them crazy enough to change their minds. They did eventually.
At thirteen, Brian discovered Bluegrass and the five string banjo. He started with a mail order instrument from Sears & Roebuck, but soon acquired several Ode banjos as his musical and technical ability flourished. Along the way he picked up some Bluegrass guitar and even learned a bit of Dobro.
Bluegrass soon gave way to a broadening interest in folk music. Already technically proficient with Scruggs style banjo picking, finger picking on the guitar was easily acquired. But the girls his own age were far more interested in Rock & Roll, so before long Brian traded in a few of his acoustic folk instruments for a couple of electric guitars and began down the hopeful path of rock stardom. Alas, it was not to be.
At the age of eighteen he experienced a "mystical transformation" while listening to the pipe organ works of J.S. Bach. Once again he changed musical directions and began studying classical music. This of course demanded that he learn to read music notation. He attended Lewis & Clark College where he began his study of the violoncello. He graduated in 1971 in performance, and shortly after successfully auditioned for a chair in the Oregon Symphony. For the next decade Brian earned his living playing in the orchestra and teaching cello students. During that time he learned to play pedal-steel guitar, constructed one of the world's first solid-body electric cellos, and returned to the university to earn a degree in computer science.
Brian left the symphony (to the world, an apparent abandonment of his musical career) to accept a full time position as a software engineer at Tektronix. No-one realized at the time that this career change was simply the next logical step in reaching his goal of music composition. Many years would pass before technology (both software and hardware) would be capable of what Brian envisioned accomplishing. But eventually it did catch up with his imagination, and he began his career as a composer.
Only a handful of Brian's works are intended to be realizable by performing musicians. The majority are conceived as playable only by the computer.