From start to finish, he is constantly questioning, and pushing back on his own ideas in his efforts to create meaningful musical experiences for performers and for audiences. Norman talks animatedly about the different personalities that whisper as he works—the “little Modernist guy,” the more laid-back, John Cage-y voice, and even the latent film composer, all of whom fight it out during the creation of a score. That sense of conflict can definitely be heard in the music: skittering, complex textures are slowly engulfed by gigantic, lush, chord progressions; or brash percussion chops off one lyrical phrase after another, never allowing a full melody to emerge. Despite these internal struggles with creativity, which he says have at different times in his life stopped him in his tracks, he also possesses a keen sense of playfulness, reveling in the visceral experiences of music making, and thoughtfully challenges performers to bring their own ideas to their interpretation of his music.
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