Cello, bass, guitar and keyboard are just a few examples of the instruments Gideon Klein, a senior in music composition, plays.
Beyond that, he composes music that has led to creative influence in the many bands he plays with, including Maplehurst and Cereus Bright.
Starting out as a performance major his freshman year, Klein made the switch to composition while a sophomore. In high school, Klein attempted the "singer-songwriter thing," but he admitted he's "not really great with words" and wrote more instrumental pieces instead. Playing bass, guitar and cello, Klein had a difficult time managing all three as a performance, missing the ability to switch between them when he was focused on cello performance. Switching to composition "was finally the thing where I get to mix in all of what I've grown up with."
Klein's compositions are influenced by "dead" composers. This influence has led Klein to consider writing some that will last long past his lifetime so other musicians can someday find it. Evan Ford of Cereus Bright saw the time and talent composing "modern classical" music takes firsthand when he saw Klein perform at his senior recital.
"This type of composition takes an amazing mind and incredible focus—to imagine multiple parts on different instruments and make sure they all work together and aren't distracting," Ford said. "The dedication and knowledge it takes to write classical pieces is astronomical, and Gideon nailed it."
Coincidentally, Klein became a member of both Maplehurst and Cereus Bright at rather sudden times. For Maplehurst, Klein had taken a semester off from orchestra to try out men's choir. There, he met Maplehurst's keyboardist, Will Sliger, who asked him to check out a project he was doing with Jenna Weaver and David Platillero. Klein's decision to stop by one of their rehearsals has since made him a member of the band, who has recorded an album and played on WDVX's Blue Plate Special last December.
"So we started playing music, and David got really excited and so did Will and so did Jenna," Klein said. "Then we were like, 'This is the four of us.' Then we got just this past summer Cole, who played drums with us. We had our CD release show last semester that was really fun."
Then "somewhere in the middle of all that chaos," Klein met Tyler Anthony of Cereus Bright. Klein knew the two of them would meet soon as Matt Nelson, Cereus Bright's bass player, had mentioned the band's interest in "a cellist for a few recordings." Klein's official work with Cereus Bright began during the recording of their second EP. Ford said they "wanted someone who was an expert at composing string parts."
"He showed up, we were playing through 'Happier Than Me,' and by the end of the song, he had already pretty much written what came to be the part on the record," Ford said. "He's not even just an instrumentalist, either, as he's constantly coming up with new melodies and textures. Gideon's a great musician, in every sense of the word."
Klein is dedicated to his two bands, but he said he's not the "type of guy that only has one band." Instead, he jumps between the two along with other gigs he finds to further his musical horizons.
"I think I'm one of those guys that just kind of jumps from band to band, and I really enjoy playing music," Klein said.
While he plays cello in both Maplehurst and Cereus Bright, as well as taking private lessons for it, Klein said he "professionally" plays bass and guitar as well. And though the three string instruments are his main ones, Ford said Klein "can play pretty much every instrument I could think to hand him."
One example is found in another one of his bands. Klein plays keyboard in The Big Pink, which is a cover band of The Band.
"I thought we should have just been called the Cover Band," Klein said. "I think it would have really made things confusing."
Klein has never been far from music, as his parents are musical. Despite his musically talented parents though, his young mind's confusion between two very different instruments explains how he landed on the cello.
"I was six and started playing bass," Klein said. "Then I went into a music store, and I saw a couple of cellos and told my mom, 'Hey, these are basses for people my age.' She was like 'No, no. This is a cello; it's a completely different instrument.'"
"And I was like, 'Mom, I know you're smart and all, but trust me. I know exactly what I'm talking about. This is a bass for someone my age, and I want it.' So, that Christmas, I got a cello, and I've been playing ever since. It was an accident, and I didn't listen to my mom."