Illuminated in the City of Stars

Two of my passions are composing music and traveling, so I’m always grateful for the opportunity to combine them!

On Sunday, TEMPO will perform my trio Illuminated by the Light of Two Ships Passing in the Night at California State University Northridge. I flew out to Los Angeles to attend the performance and catch-up with friends, family and colleagues in the area.  Stepping out of the plane from Boston can most properly be described as a weather orgasm.  Hello sunshine, hello, green, hello flowers, hello 70’s!  Today I drove up the coast to Malibu and into the Santa Monica Mountains.

Illuminated by the Light of Two Ships Passing in the Night is an ode to moments of illumination, inspired by a piece of conceptual artwork by Lawrence Weiner. Weiner started as a sculptor, but in 1968 began to explore language as a new medium for presenting his ideas, creating installation art that consisted solely of words imprinted on white walls. Without binding his ideas to concrete physical form, much is left to the imagination of the beholder.  So picture walking into a gallery in the Whitney Museum and seeing a wall with the words “Illuminated by the Light of Two Ships Passing in the Night” imprinted. It’s not so much poetry, as visual art that is created in the individual mind’s eye. One of the things I love about this particular Weiner work is its transience, the idea of a moment fleetingly illuminated. The ephemeral has many forms: two strangers passing in the night; sun-dappled Monarchs migrating south; and all too familiar to us artists, fleeting bursts of inspiration evanescing like shooting stars into the darkness. My piece is a sort of musical response to Weiner’s conceptual art, a vision in music rather than imagery.

Can’t make Sunday’s live performance in L.A.? You can listen listen to a streaming recording of the piece below! You can also download the track on my debut album Illuminations.  



Welcome to “One Note at a Time,” a channel for dreamers, artistic solopreneurs, global travelers, foodies and music lovers.

My name is Oliver Caplan and I’m a composer.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and my sleeve is woven of music.  Things that nourish my artistic soul include time in nature, travel, human connection…. and chocolate (dark).

In this space, I’ll share my artist’s view on the world, and chatting with you about topics such as:

What I’m working on, why and how I compose, and where you can listen.

Following big dreams:
The hopes, the doubts, and the interplay between seminal heart-fluttering moments and the less-glamorous nitty gritty of making it all happen.

Journeys to the ends of the earth for a tasty morsel, adventures in my home kitchen, and everything in between.

The joy of exploring the world, places worth your attention, and some tips and tricks on how to make it happen.

Sounds like a lot?  It’s all part of my daily life!  I savor this journey one note at a time and I’m excited to take you with me.