I was born in Missoula, Montana, in 1955, but I take no credit for that.
My musical life began in Iowa City as a young violin student of Doris Preucil, who went on to establish the famous Preucil Music School, based on the Suzuki Method. Perhaps her most famous protégé is her son, William Jr., concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, who was also a member of this very first Preucil class.
At the age of 13 I began to discover several musical callings -- early music (I began taking lessons on the recorder and joined the University of Iowa early music ensemble the following year), and electronic music. In the latter area, in those early days I played at what my older and more sophisticated colleagues were doing: I experimented with improvised electronic sound sources, tape recorders, and found objects, and dreamed of one day having access to an integrated electronic music synthesizer for my raucous explorations.
Years went by, and I found myself living in Eugene, Oregon, by then quite serious as a performer on early wind and string instruments (principally baroque flute and viola da gamba), and as a composer of electronic music, with some success creating soundtracks for dancers, filmmakers, and theatrical productions. I found that with the addition of some microphones to my collection of tape recorders and signal processors, I was able to augment my income by recording student recitals and auditions. This led to some album projects (long-playing records in those days), covering the gamut from storytelling to baroque oratorio to polka band.
In 1985 I was hired by the University of Iowa to work as the Audio Engineer in the School of Music recording studio. There I recorded countless student recitals, operas, orchestra and band concerts, and worked on commercial recordings and educational projects. This took place at the dawn of the era of inexpensive, high-quality digital recording, and the widespread availability of the compact disc. Two colleagues and I, David Muller and Adam Cain, saw the need for an inexpensive, efficient digital audio editing system, and co-invented what I believe to be the first audio editor based on the IBM personal computer. Our editor was specifically designed for the needs of classical music recording, and I feel that it is still the best system available.
In 1989 I answered the siren call of the many interesting early music recording projects happening all around the country, and left the University to become self-employed again. My first project was the premiere recording of the 1785 Jacques Germain harpsichord at the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, featuring Arthur Haas playing the music of D'Anglebert. This became a successful CD (it's still one of my favorite harpsichord recordings), and led to many other projects.
Since then I have had the privilege of working with many fine muscians on hundreds of compact disc recordings and about a thousand concerts. The work has taken me to every part of the United States, as well as to Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.
Music's greatest gift to me was to lead me to the lady who would become my wife, Hilary Strayer, whom I met through our mutual love of the harpsichord.
My hope is to continue to help musicians to reach their audiences through the medium of recorded sound.
Peter Nothnagle: Musical Background