My TEDx talk has been seen by 1.2 million viewers, thus making it (unpredictably and certainly without commensurate merit) my most known enterprise. In it I talk about how boredom is the principal motivation behind my work, as well as the provocation to undertake roles ancillary to the narrowly circumscribed definition of composer: choreographer, carpenter, dramaturge, inventor, etc. This talk is not especially brilliant, but it does succeed at two things that are essential to me: it signals my dedication to far-flung artistic experience even when such polyartistic pursuit (to borrow Richard Kostelanetz’ term) risks criticisms of dilettantism; and it unexpectedly serves as a beacon, eliciting far-flung expressions of meaningful resonance—email depositions that arrive weekly: a catalyst for an elementary school teacher to change her curriculum; a role model for a disenfranchised teen who, until he discovered my work, felt alone; etc. In my work deliberately pitched at more specialized (elite, esoteric) audiences these precious prizes remain comparatively elusive.
Postscript: The title The Mad Scientist of Music was not mine; TED invented that after the fact. My first slide—visible in the auditorium—had the somewhat more sober if less exciting title Boredom: The Real Secret behind Innovation.