Sahl, Michael

1934 —

MICHAEL SAHL was born in Boston in 1934 and began to play and make up little pieces around the age of five. He began serious musical training when he was eight with teachers including Louise Talma and Israel Citkowitz. By college he had developed an interest in modern music, studying at Tanglewood and receiving his MFA from Princeton. He then went to Europe on a Fulbright Scholarship to study and compose 'modern music'. Sahl writes: "But i. was not to be. My desire to write old-fashioned tonal melodies kept me from really participating in the then reigning style, and from displaying the necessary astringency in my work. Returning to America with a wife and child in 1963, I found 1) that some of my folk-friends had gone into what was becoming "folk-rock", and 2) that my tonal abilities could help me (perhaps) make some kind of living in music. Eventually, after an episode in Buffalo playing avant-garde music for Lukas Foss, I became the pianist and arranger for Judy Collins, and was thrown in with "folkies", who had the same ear that I did, if not the same musical education. As I look back over my work now, it seems to me to be dominated by the hybridization of those two musics that commanded my deepest heart's affection, namely Romantic music, and jazz/rock. "Romantic" melody lines appear in conjunction with "rhythm-section grooves".